He pulls himself upright with a gasp, stumbling for the ten thousand, one hundred and fifty-third time. He’s pretty sure this number isn’t the actual number of times he’s tripped, but he figures somewhere, someone is keeping count, even if it’s just recorded as scuff marks in the earth.
It certainly won’t be the last time, either, not unless he doesn’t manage to catch himself the next time.
He’s been too busy looking and envying the proud people in his life; the kind of people where everything goes well for them because they force their burdens onto others and possess the world, as if it were theirs to haunt. He’s seen others bend for them until they break, and pride keeps them rolling forward like a downhill snowball.
But he stops himself before violence can find him, before the next rock in the ground can tip him over, because he still thinks it’s much too early for him to be laid to rest.