The nearest house had its main door wide open, letting classical music out, onto the street.
A young woman could be seen walking into the frame, looking straight at me.
– You look tired young one. Would you like to rest a bit? Eat and drink before you continue on your exploration?
I had to admit, snack time sounded good.
I followed the woman through the door frame and into a small house. There was just another door in the living room that was also the kitchen. The room itself was pristine. Not even a speck of dust could be seen, and there was an obvious scent of bleach in the air.
There was a large, old tv on the other side of the room, on but silent. The classical music came from the old record player next to it.
I approached the table where the woman was waiting for me. She didn’t offer me the other chair on the table, just pointed me to the plate of perfectly made cupcakes and a glass of lemonade.
– Please, help yourself.
I picked one of the small cakes and held it to my face but I could not smell it over the bleach.
– If I had a bike, it’d be easy to cycle to Slateport for some shopping. You don’t happen to have one do you?
One, two bites, and the cupcake was done. Extremely tasty and surprisingly satisfying, so much that I didn’t feel like eating another one. It did leave my mouth dry though. Her question didn’t register, all I could see was the lemonade.
– Of course you don’t. That is too bad. If I did I, could go and buy some harbor mail at pokémart in slateport.
The cup was emptied in one gulp and even though I still couldn’t smell any of it, the lemonade completely quenched my thirst and was made from the best lemons I had ever tasted.
– Are they good? I assume so, given your haste in swallowing the meal… and total disregard of my questions.
I apologized for my rudeness as best as I could.
– No need for apologies. I know what to expect from whom I invite into my house. I am aware of who enters.
I must have looked confused.
– No, I do not know or care about who you are. Yes, you did appear on tv earlier, but yours was not a useful contribution or a relevant one.
My confused look must have not changed, but I was starting to feel unwelcome, so I thanked her for the meal and excused myself. Plus, I think she had just insulted me.
– You are not aware of your presence or your impact. You walk through this world, this land, this city, unaware of the change you bring with you.
I stopped in my tracks.
– Observe and listen. Not all is what it seems. Not all battles are meant to be won or even fought. Learn to tell them apart. Learn to view your surroundings… and learn to clean your feet when entering a house.
I looked down and could see my footseps from the entrance to the table and back, a path of dirt.
I turned to apologize and she raised her hand, stopping me.
– Like I said… learn to observe the world and yourself. Hope your travels allow you to do it. Be well.
That was my cue to leave.
I did my best to step on my previous footprints until I left the bleach scented house and its impeccably clean owner. The young woman who was wearing a freshly pressed elaborate dress.
The door closed behind me and I swear the smell of bleach intensified.