book of days serial #18

The night was white cold and clear in its desert hoary winter moonlight. Somehow the calendar permitted a third winter to permeate the year. He knew that moon. He made his way up the road from his car walking on the outer edge of the pavement, skirting the Russian discos overflowing into the street. He passed open doors, where the crowds were heaviest, and came to a full stop in every moonlit stretch of empty pavement. By the time he was able to cross the road, he was fighting the desire to run. He stopped for several minutes outside his destination to get his bearings. As he stood there, poised to enter and confront the interior world, his fear made him seem almost graceful. Yet his body was frozen in such an awkward posture that clearly had not been meant to last more than a few seconds. An intermediate movement, that now seemed in danger of lasting forever, if he could not find a pretext for ending it. He had remained there for an appreciable length of time, when a car lurched to the curb and startled him towards the entrance.

The delicatessen into which he turned was a large brilliantly lit place. All the fixtures were chromed and the floors and wall were lined with highly polished terrazzo. Colored fluorescent lights behind transparent images played on the counters, heightening the natural hues of the different foods and establishing a dining atmosphere close in its light quality to the sorting room of a post office.

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