Intro: Farewells

Harwood Clay opened his eyes and scanned the room in front of him. Everything was packed and ready.  He closed his eyes again and inhaled deeply.  Today he ends this life and begins anew, and he could hardly wait for it… He got up and opened the window letting the noise of the city fill the quiet room. It was still dark outside, the residents of Bridgeport were either still in bed or just coming home from their nightly escapades. Harwood himself had gotten only a few hours of sleep, last night was his retirement party at the Modern Art Gallery. He still felt the consequences, like the constant, dull,  throbbing in his head, the beginning of a bad hangover, he was after all not a young man anymore.

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He yawned and stretched before giving the room one last search. He knew he hadn’t left anything important behind, if it was truly important he would remember it but still it was more out of habit that anything else. He showered and dressed before he called a cab. He asked the driver to come up to his flat and help him carry his heavy bags out to the car. He was glad to see that the man was heavyset, with big arms and fists and he didn’t complain much as he carried the bags to the elevator.

He was not of a chatty sort either Harwood noticed wen they were in the car at last. Instead of talking Harwood stared at the building around him thinking about the life that lay ahead. The sun was just coming up but Bridgeport dawn was grey and foggy, not much unlike any other part of the day, this time of year. Harwood sighed loudly.

“I have changed my mind.” He said to the driver. “Take me to the train station, not the airport.” The man said nothing as he took a turn left leaving Harwood alone with his thoughts. He had no idea where he was going, or why he changed his mind. But Harwood was a man of strong beliefs. And he believed in fate. He believed that it was leading him somewhere even though he still hadn’t know where, or maybe he did… His head was a mess, from the hangover, and lack of sleep and he hoped it would clear when he got to his first destination.

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He tipped the driver handsomely and thanked him profusely as the man took the bags out of his car. There was a baggage cart near by and the driver moved the bags there. “Have a safe trip.” He muttered as he turned to leave. “Best of luck to you too kind sir.” Harwood yelled after him before pushing his stuff over to the ticket windows. It was still early and the station was deserted. The young boy selling tickets was hardly keeping his eyes open but Harwood smiled at him as politely as he could.

“Morning young man.” He said.  “I would like a one-way ticket.”

“To where mister?” The boy asked in a droll voice. Where indeed? Harwood asked himself gripping the cold steel bars on the cart besides him.

“Twinbrook.” He finally said fishing out his wallet from his jeans pocket.

 

Safely seated in a nearly empty train Harwood leaned back against the back of his seat and pulled out his phone. He knew he should feel excited, or nervous but he felt oddly at peace. Twinbrook? He asked himself. What was I thinking? He shook his head. There would be time to ponder on this later. He dialled Marla, his agent, or more accurately, his ex agent, technically today was their last day working together… That made him a bit sad, they did work together for a decade but it was time to move on, for both of them.

“Miss me already?” Marla said as she picked up the phone on the second ring. Harwood smiled.

“Of course sweetheart, did you even doubt it?”

“Not for a second.” She said before getting serious. “So what is it? Changed your mind about this retirement thing already?” Harwood laughed this time.

“Not yet. But I need you still… I need you to get me a place in Twinbrook? Could you do it?”

“Could I? Do you even have to ask?” Marla asked faking annoyance. “Twinbrook huh?” She added. “I would have guessed someplace warmer but then again you don’t strike me as a sunbathing type… Are you going by plane?”

“No. Train.”

“Good. I have all the time I need then…. Have a safe trip.” She said and disconnected. Harwood put the phone back in his pocket and closed his eyes. He knew Marla would do her job and he slept as peacefully as a baby the whole way to Twinbrook…

He woke up just as the train entered the station. His neck hurt from sitting in this awkward position but his head felt better. He checked his phone and saw a bunch of messages from Marla. She had gotten him a room at a local hotel until she could do more he was to stay there. He took the cab again and stayed in the hotel for three days straight,  watching TV and enjoying room service. He didn’t go into town once. Not until Marla called to say she had gotten him a house.

It took the moving people a day to finish the house but when they finally left Harwood felt giddy and excited in a way he hadn’t felt for years. He pulled out his phone and called Marla.

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“It is perfect.” He said the moment she answered. “Thank you.” He knew she was smiling on the other side.

“Oh Harwood… What are you going to do now?” She asked.

“Whatever fate throws at me…” He said with a smile.

“Well… If you ever need anything… Don’t hesitate to call me.”

“I won’t. Farewell Marla.” He said ending the call. He had no intention of calling Marla again. He liked the woman,  she was efficient,  professional and a good friend. But it was time to move on, for both of them. Harwood was done with the art world.  Any new art he would create would be for himself not anyone else… The thought was as liberating as throwing his phone in the wide mouth of the Twinbrook bay a moment later had been….

 

 

 

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