I couldn't tell where we were. Some small enclosed room. It looked no larger than a room on a ferry or a train, but it was old and beat up. We sat there, talked. I was taken by how young, how beautiful she was despite the fact that everything around us was run-down and rag-tag. Rusty metal walls or bulkheads and old blankets adorned the place. She wasn't my girl, and, while attractive, not my objective. As we talked, a much older man came in. The thick glasses and white in his beard and hair painted him into his 60s, and the droll, sarcastic countenance lent him an air of annoyance, maybe even a slight narcisism -I couldn't tell yet. However, I could tell in her reaction to his entrance that she was equally annoyed, for, whatever the initial cause, this was her husband. She confessed in a dry and tired way that she had an affair again earlier that day with someone neither of them knew, the confession replacing the standard greeting. With that, I made my leave.
I left those quarters and turned right around a corner. A row of benches went back into some sort of large room, perhaps an old theater, church, or just a lounge. I went down the first row and found my old friend sitting there by himself amidst the coughing and smell of the inhabitants of the rest of the room. He sat quietly, donning jeans, boots, and an a-neck shirt, all of which were dirty from months of wear. A knife hung off the front of the bench from his belt at his right hip as he leaned forward to listen more closely to the display on the wall in front of him. I couldn't help but notice how much more muscular he had become since this all started, since he lost everything, everyone...
"What's the latest?" I asked him.
His eyes didn't move from the screen as he nodded, acknowledging my presence. "It's hard to make out. I can't tell where they're going next." He grabbed some sort of make-shift screwdriver and began prodding at the exposed wires in he wall underneath the viewscreen. He gestured to his left with an amused thumb. "That guy seems to be losing it, though."
I looked beyond him, across the aisle on the other side of the bench. In the flickering light, I saw the man he was talking about. He sat alone on a suitcase, almost hidden from view from a pile of duffle bags and clothing. A little more than middle-aged, he wore no shirt, and on his chest and shoulders I could see burn marks. They looked like a severe sunburn, except that they were in a pattern that would suggest an artificial cause.
He slowly rocked on his suitcase. "This wasn't the plan. This isn't God's plan. It's wrong. It's all wrong." His gaze was on nothing in particular, yet immovable in its focus. I turned back to my friend.
"I recognize him. He was famous years ago. Years ago. He ran for president, even." I couldn't remember his name, but I did remember the news, back when there was news, when there was a governmet. I remember he wasn't too well-liked, and that his hair, which now looked graying and disheveled, was always immaculate. I also remembered his faith being a campaign issue. I wondered how it went wrong for him, and pity began to flow through me...