A single white speck of ash floated in the twisting breeze. The warm air tossing it up and down. It floated directionless. Carried by the wind, in whichever direction it was sent. The heat from the fire still warmed my back through the blanket draped over my shoulders. I sat in a bubble of silence captive to my distraction. This tiny speck defied gravity, triumphant in its lofty progress but slave to the movement of invisible forces. Currents and eddies in the air tumbled and spun the little white dot. It rose and fell. Spiralled and straightened, only to repeat new patterns, new dances with its hidden partner.
Men stepped over the rubble that was my life. I mumbled a response to a question. Nodded again when it was repeated. The speck was gone. I’d lost track of it. Leaning back and looking anew there were thousands. Some rising some falling. All dancing their own dance, masters and slaves, triumphant and bound.
I stood to look finally at the broken pieces behind me. My worldly fortune reduced to charred and twisted timbers, broken glass and the cold fingers of smoke from the hands of the beast that snatched it. My mangled car lay underneath that all as well. Another victim of the accident. A moment out of my control. Or completely my fault. I handed the blanket back to the fireman, the one with the kind eyes and thanks him for his care. I gave the police my statement. And then I took a step. I followed it with another and another until I reached the park down my road.
I sat there for a time watching children play, laughing as they ran and fell and got back up again. I remembered that joy. That freedom. I was hungry. Hungry for more life. I still had money, I still had my keys. They had no purpose anymore and found a new home at the base of an oak tree. Maybe a squirrel would own them now. I started walking again. I haven’t stopped yet. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.
The last sentence is from Invictus.