His marriage imploded; smoke and insinuations. It was a shock that he always knew was coming. His conscience sent him North; a man and his bags. He was 38 and had gained weight. A once handsome face melting away into middle-aged near-obesity. Ruing over what he was not proud of, every human interaction was endlessly scrutinised. He felt that he had a true essence that he had not yet uncovered. If he could discover it then he would build a new story around it, one that would get his life back on track. His meals were no hopers; microwaved, industrial and sodium filled. His meals and his days did not nourish him. Feeling lonely, he had started to go to the pub. Although he stuck out, he found the locals rough but friendly enough. They, the 3 lads, were going to come around for a smoke. A little bit of companionship might stop the walls from eating him up. They were all in their mid-twenties, he'd guess, so younger than him but not oddly so. He flipped between politics today and sky sports news; chain smoking like it was a vital function. He drank a can of san pelligrino blood orange, slowly, his mouth overwhelmed by the sugary taste. He sighed from the tip of his toes to the crown of his head. Within an hour, like his marriage he would no longer exist.