The beginning of any love story. Only later will it become something different entirely.
He woke up gasping, unsure of where he was. A second later his mind cleared and he heard his alarm clock blaring, its radio next to his ear, on the glass night stand beside his bed.
Finally, after a few minutes of zoning out, he slid out of bed, tossing his red and black comforter to the side and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. He blinked a few times and shook his head; his eye sockets feeling as if they were filled with cotton balls. Getting up slowly from the end of his bed he smoothed out his bunched up boxer shorts as he crossed his bedroom and into the adjoining bathroom, bumping into his bookcase on the way.
Ignoring the pain in his shin, he snapped on the light with his finger, instantly sending a different kind of pain shooting into his eyes.
“Shit” He said and flipped the switch again, plunging his apartment back into the blissful darkness of early morning.
At the sink, he splashed some water on his face and brushed his teeth, not quite fully awake, but not wanting to be either. He gargled a bit, and then spit out the horrid tasting mouthwash, rinsing out the bowl of the sink with a brief gush from the faucet afterwards.
Finton threw on his starched, white dress shirt, buttoning it up the front and moving his neck a bit to avoid pinching himself as he fastened the last small button under the collar. He grabbed his black tie from the steel tie rack he kept on the inside of the closet door, smoothing out the wrinkles he could make out in the relative blackness of his room.
He turned and tossed the tie at his clock, missing by an inch and sending it tumbling behind the night stand. He turned back to the closet to get another and realized his others weren’t clean yet. He sighed and went to recover the tie, cursing his clock, now not only for it’s lack of consideration, but for it’s lack of width as he bent over the glass piece of furniture and scooped up the slender piece of cloth.
He shrugged on his black pants, the second part in his three piece suit, and fastened the silver buckle on his belt as he tucked his shirt in, slipping the end through the steel rectangle and settled on the first hole. He walked out into the short hallway outside his room and straightened his tie as he crossed the kitchen to his calendar fastened to his refrigerator.
“What’s the schedule for the day?” He mumbled to himself, scanning the rectangular grid for the day’s date.
He found it, and he saw that he had written in the little box in black ink: OFF.
He was off today? He hadn’t remembered...
“Fuck it” he said, as he meandered back to his room.
He was already up and dressed, so it was pointless to try to get back to sleep. He stood in his doorway, his hands on his hips, trying to decide what to do.
First, Finton thought to himself, I’m going to have a cigarette. He backtracked to the kitchen, rolling up his sleeves as he went.
He grabbed the pack and lighter that was resting on the counter and walked through the adjacent living room, stepping through a sliding door at the far end and onto the balcony beyond. He was immediately hit with a gust of biting wind and a few flakes of snow and realized two things: It was indeed snowing outside, and he had no coat or socks on.
He shrugged and leaned back inside to light his cig, flipping the snap lighter closed afterward and slipping in his pocket as he walked to the railing of his balcony. The overhang kept the cement floor clear of the damp snow, and overall it wasn’t really overly cold out, merely chilly.
He took a long drag on the cigarette and leaned on the metal railing, exhaling the smoke out of his nose slowly as he looked out on the city beyond. Soft flakes of snow were falling gently from the sky, peppering the not-quite-light environment with a blanket of white. A couple of cars passed below, but they were few and far between, and each time they did John had to wince; the noise seemed deafening at such an early hour. A truck rumbled into his view from a side street and turned down another road, and Finton watched it until it faded from sight, exhaust flowing from the muffler and into the cold air, fading quickly into transparent wisps then into nothing.
He put the pack of cigarettes back onto the counter and went into the bathroom; he was planning on going somewhere, and he wanted to make sure he was presentable.
Finton looked into the mirror and saw a ruggedly handsome, mid thirties man looking back. He had been told once by an old girlfriend that he had reminded her of a younger Paul Walker, and he certainly hadn’t been inclined to disagree. He stroked his stubble chin absent-mindedly and reminded himself to shave sometime soon.
Well, he thought, there was a Starbucks not too far from his apartment building; only a few blocks down. They had some fairly good cappuccino, and he could grab a croissant for breakfast....
He nodded to himself as he’s been there on all of his days off and gathered his shoes from the bottom of his closet. He threw them on, the black shoes shined to a glistening sheen the night before, light folding around the leather like tattered blankets. He grabbed his wallet and stuffed it into his back pocket, scooping up his motorcycle keys as he did so. He looked at the keys for a moment, and then tossed them back onto the night stand; he’d walk.