Kits, Cats, Sacks, Wives

by Kyle SUNDBY

Considering the opposing traffic, he knew the decision to visit during odd hours was the right one. The popularity of his destination was bizarre—it was just another small town that shared its name with a handful of other small towns on his island nation. The infrastructure was hardly prepared to handle the volume of visitors. How so many could travel to and from the town on a single road was nothing short of a riddle.

The road itself was narrow. On several occasions he had to step into ditch or over hedge to allow others to pass. Often there was no room to maneuver and he found himself forced into physical contact with perfect strangers. He regularly dodged bundles of goods, animals, and extended families on trips he had no purpose undertaking.

A private person, his journeys from home were the only opportunities to engage his fellow man. The moments were rare, as he had little skill in beginning or maintaining conversation. Every salutation, every exchange was therefore memorable. One in particular he would never forget.

The man was loud in everything—he heard him well before he saw him advancing from around a bend in the road. His voice, his personality, and of course his traveling party was enormous. There was little chance of avoiding interaction.

Before he could offer a single courtesy, the man was upon him, clapping his back, shaking his hand, gesturing to and fro. He was jostled by burlap sacks whose contents thrashed, by numerous perfumes sported by the fairer sex, and mews and purrs from seemingly everywhere. For what felt both an eternity and no time at all, he was amid vast and chaotic life far different than his own. Then he was by himself once again.

He thinks of his meeting with the man often. Something in the event holds an answer to a question he possesses and asks of others he passes by. What few realize is that, even during that brief encounter, he has been the only man, going there alone.

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