Writing prompt: a picture …

Today’s writing prompt and my response.

A picture prompt today.

Somehow, along the hippy trail of the 70s, he found he’d been left behind. Or maybe he let the others go on without him, a deliberate choice. For decades he didn’t think about the hows and whys. He was content here, surrounded by the tallest mountains in the world, giving the illusion of an impregnable city. Perhaps from humans. Not from nature. He closes his mind against those memories, those losses.

When tourist business was slow, and his regular customers had bought their new winter jacket or summer tie-died shirt, he sat in the bamboo chair with a magazine open on his knees, the pages unturned. He let his mind go to the long-haired, slender-limbed girl he’d travelled here with, on the agonizingly slow bus which wound its way up the narrow road, tree-bare slopes either side, one up, one down. A different experience, this place. Waiting for ‘buff’ steak in heavily pot-scented cafes; passing the daily meat slaughtering, avoiding the slippy blood; hikes into the lower hills wearing inappropriate footwear.

She was beside him then, her long skirt no impediment to jumping streams, clambering over rocks. Until the day she said it was time to move on, she’d done this town, ticked the box, let’s go back and eastward.

And he said, later, I’ll follow later, and she shrugged and left. And later never came.

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