The Oncoming Tide

He loved the countryside. He woke up to a concert of sweet birdsong. He swung his legs out of bed as his joints gave a collective groan. He grasped the lightly decorated mahogany desk and pushed himself toward the kitchen. His hand were pale and slender, used for the most delicate of work; his grandchildren called them “piano player’s hands”, his face was angular and sharp his protruding nose gave him the nickname “Pinnochio” as a child. While he thought about his childhood, his expression, which almost always hid the ghost of a smile, turned to one of sorrow. He frowned, causing the abundance of wrinkles on his forehead to fold in on themselves. He decided to forget and concentrate on the matter at hand; his stomach concurred by giving a low, monotonous growl. 

He lowered two slices of bread into the toaster, his hands unsteady, shaking. He glanced outside the window, watching two bees entwine in a graceful arabesque as the sun rose, bathing the sky in a glorious conflagration of pink and yellow. The toaster beeped, signalling that it had done its job and he was dragged back into the reality of his own banal existence. 
 
After eating, he quickly rose and made his way, slowly, to the bathroom, he gently combed over the thin wispy strands that covered his scalp; he didn’t bother shaving and quickly threw on some old clothes. He was a rustic man, and as he shuffled outside, he felt the sunlight fall on his face in a golden shower whilst the cool breeze gently caressed his face. His bare feet gently trod on the dirt path, enjoying the sensation of the sand flowing between his toes as he passed a field of workers, plucking the earth’s bounty with expertise, with a technique refined and perfected from one generation to the next. He yearned to join them, yearned to make a contribution, yearned to have a purpose; rather than stay at home, following the same pointless routine everyday, waiting for death to embrace him like an old friend. 
 
He plucked a green fruit from one of the hundreds in a row of identical bushes and popped it in his mouth. Flavour rolled around his tongue and down his gullet;his shoulders, knotted with thin spidery veins, relaxed. 
His moment of euphoria ended as quickly as it began when his attention was diverted to the thick, black smoke emanating from the power plant in the distance. His hands did not clench as they did before, nor did his face darken in anger: he had come to accept the immanent arrival of the city. He was indifferent. He knew he would be long dead before it would arrive to harm him once more; and this he cherished as his final victory. 
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