He did not know when he was born. He did not remember his mother. He moved through the city and almost no one noticed him. His shadow wrapped itself around him.
He found himself standing on the staircase of a tenement, one foot a step higher than the other and with his back and outstretched arms pressed against brown paisley wallpaper and where he touched it, it bubbled up, fractured out in sudden brittleness, and began to turn to dust. A man and a woman stomped down from the flight above, arguing in their underwear, spit coming from their mouths, and they passed him, and the arguing man brushed against him, and he knew the man would die before the night was finished.
He felt compelled to climb the stairs. As he raised himself each flight, the doors grayed themselves to him, fading away, blocking themselves from his view and focus, the occupants behind them were as ghosts.
At the top of the fifth flight he saw the door that drew him. A red light seeped out the bottom and colored the dingy linoleum with pink. He pushed in and through and the room on the other side burst with warm color. The walls were painted in murals and dozens of canvasses littered the room and on each were painted bursts of emotion, and he immediately identified anger, lust, and longing, and these bore into him.
He felt his footsteps sagging, weighed down by the images, but he searched out their creator, and he found her lying on a bed in a connected room. She was wrapped half in a sheet with her face down in the bare mattress. Her arm dangled down, choked by a length of rubber tubing, and still holding a needle.
Ecstasy took him and the room spun and brightened and his need to touch her occupied him entirely. He moved to her, his hand hovering over the skin of her back, and then he stopped, hand shivering, as the ecstasy competed with the weight. The room spun faster until everything became a blur but the patch of skin waiting beneath his hand. He willed himself forward, to fulfill his need, but instead he withdrew, and the room stilled itself and became black and he faded away.
He woke at dawn by the river, on a bench. There were no joggers or bar closing drunks to tempt him, and so with calmness, if not a bit of regret, he watched the sun rise and fill the sky with pink light.