Thus we find our protagonist: Jealous and lonely in groups, but scared of being alone all the same. Doesn’t think about the afterlife because he can’t do theological computations that far out, figuring instead that he’ll “cross that bridge when he comes to it”. The wanderlust grows and grows within him like a coating of tar on the heart and lungs, dusting the inside of his ribcage and making him giddy. Anything for a little leap of exultation, another deep breath to bring the life back into his veins. His legs will push the pedals and he’ll throw his head up and suck in air, a little noise escapes his throat. As he bikes down the middle of a suburban street his whole body hinges and bends, the breaths keep coming, his lungs are like a pump forcing that dust out of his chest, filtered through his mind and finally released into the atmosphere. But even this won’t help the loneliness, sitting up nights, too attached to the rest of the world to enjoy being alone but too needy to get enough of a fix of humanity.

Thus we find our protagonist: A little bit frightened, a little bit subdued, a little bit desperate, a little bit lonely, a little bit less sane but a little bit happy that he’s a little bit alive in a world that’s a little bit sharper in focus.

Thus we find our protagonist: He’ll go on, he won’t give up because he doesn’t know how, and he’ll feel better soon enough. An imperfect memory is something to be treasured. He’ll wonder if ignorance is bliss but know he can’t quite bring himself to choose it. He’ll lie, but he won’t steal; he’ll tap his foot, but he won’t dance; he’ll feel bad, but he’ll know better.

Our protagonist will seat himself at the table, pull in the chair, and smile into oblivion. Because life is as life does, and this is his. He’ll put his arms behind his head and lean back laughing, he’ll go tearing out of the house into the backyard screaming, he’ll throw something across the room, he’ll talk to his reflection in the mirror, he’ll climb the nearest tree, he’ll stare at the ocean, he’ll watch the sun set, he’ll wonder where he’s going. He’ll love it, he’ll hate it, he’ll not even notice, but he’s wise enough to know that in the end it doesn’t make a difference.

Everything is only a matter of time now.

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