Bruce looked at himself in the mirror and all he could see was contempt. "Looks like we're stuck together forever," he said out loud to the image. “It’s time we make an attempt to get over the past and today is as good a day as any.” He walked out of the hotel room and went across the street to grab some breakfast.
Upon entering the diner, Shirley’s face lit. “Well good morning Bruce! I hope you had a pleasant night. What can I get you for breakfast?”
He ordered the special and sat quietly in the back booth looking over the newspaper. He didn’t remember the last time he’d woken up with absolutely nothing to do; no people to find, no clues to uncover and no plans. It was an oddly peaceful feeling. When Shirley brought his breakfast he asked her, “What’s there to do around here?”
“Nothing really,” she answered. “We are isolated from any of the big city events. This town is basically a truck stop or a map dot. There’s not a lot of activity. There aren’t a lot of folks living here and those that do are heavily into hunting.”
“There’s a wild game preserve not too far north of here, hunting season is round about October through December. Before the season opens you can hike and observe all the wildlife. Lots of folks spend their time there. There’re deer, elk, wild birds, rabbits and who knows what else. It would be a good place for you to get to know yourself.”
“Sounds interesting, how would I get there?”
“It’s about three miles from here – not sure if you’re much of a hiker.”
“Oh, you’d be surprised. After living on an island for so many years, it was no longer hiking, it was surviving.”
“Do you want me to pack you a lunch?” Shirley asked.
“That’s a great idea! I’m going to have to go find a backpack and then I’ll be back.”
Bruce set of on his adventure around ten in the morning. He hadn’t actually been walking long distances in quite a while and it felt really good. He made it to the preserve way before noon and started walking through the forested area. It wasn’t long before he saw rabbits hopping in the underbrush. Not far off from them he noticed a couple of deer drinking from a stream. Not wanting to disturb them we sat under a tree and observed. Once they’d walked away he headed towards the stream.
The fish in the stream were stunning to look at. He felt more relaxed sitting by that stream than he had in eons. He felt like he was at peace. It was in that moment that he knew what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go.
Finishing his lunch he ambled further along the trail. He headed back towards the town around four and get back to his hotel just before six o’clock. He really didn’t feel like communicating with anyone, so went to the local store and grabbed a few things for a light dinner. While he was there he grabbed a novel off one of the shelves and headed back to his room. He spent the evening reading a book and relaxing; something he couldn’t remember ever doing before. Bruce slept soundly and in the morning he checked out of the hotel.
Bruce Patterson walked over to the gas station and was told his car would be done by 10 o’clock. He went over to the diner. Shirley again greeted him with a large smile and asked what he wanted. He ordered a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich and sat at the counter.
“You look determined today Bruce,” Shirley said, refilling his coffee.
“I am,” he said. “I’m ready to get on with my life.”
“Good for you! The hike must’ve jarred something loose.”
“Not sure about that,” he laughed, “But it was great.”
Shirley smiled and said, “I wish you all the things you wish for in life.”
Bruce paid his tab, gave Shirley a hug and said, “Thanks for listening.”