Reinhardt smashed the burning remnant of his cigarette into the ground. Moving quickly he escaped inside, away from the frigid cold that kept him company while he smoked. Standing in the warmth of the foray, he surveyed his surroundings. An immense, spiral staircase greeted him with dark, intricately wrought, iron rails and polished oak banisters. The tiled floor expanded in every direction to exquisitely furnished rooms.
Reinhardt sighed. The warmly lit home filled with its elegant details betrayed the empty pit in his chest. His stomach churned undue to hunger. Hunger was a plague that Reinhardt rarely suffered anymore.
In the kitchen he poured a glass of warm, brown liquor and drank. The liquid was unpleasant on his tongue, but he no longer loathed the biting taste. He finished the glass and poured another. As he drank, the newspapers sprawled on the countertop before him caught his eye. Across the various articles the words “Jason Reinhardt… revolutionary… founder and CEO…” popped at him numerous times. He had always thought his name sounded strong—he had always thought he was strong.
Abandoning the façade of his drinking glass, Reinhardt carried the bottle of liquor into his office. Opening his email, he immediately began writing and he continued drinking. He drank and he wrote until the bottle became light and the words seemed so heavy. Pushing aside the keyboard, he glanced at the bottom drawer of his desk. He looked away but almost immediately he looked back. Tears welled in his eyes.
“No,” he said. A sob escaped his command.
Slowly he opened the drawer and removed stacks of files. He threw them across the room and papers drifted down on sweeping currents. There, beneath the documents he regarded as rubbish, was his most cherished and most hated possession. It was a memory captured, and it imprisoned him every day. The photograph beheld an image of Reinhardt in a field of pure snow, embracing of a woman with golden-brown hair. When he saw it a tremendous peace touched him and he smiled. Then the fleeting gladness flew and pain pierced him like a burning dagger.
He lightly brushed the photo with his fingertips as he wept. Slowly the still frame slipped from his feeble grasp as he collapsed on the desk, spilling the bottle of whiskey.
“One day,” he choked. “I’ll see you again… I’ll—I’ll touch your hair… and you’ll smile.”
Whisky dripped like bitter tears onto the face of the tiles below. Somewhere a mechanical fan started thrumming and lulled Reinhardt into anxious dreams.