The emptiness he felt as he realized he was progressing through realities was hardly veiled by his feigned smile as he answered half a heard question. She had already asked him the same question twice, and she began to wonder what she was going to have to eat during her break. Maybe a chicken salad. He thought loudly about what he wanted to say, but his lungs only spared him enough breath to murmur a bashful request to repeat herself one more time. She felt her throat lock up as she looked at him because something about his self-imposed, incoming reality brushed against her consciousness, and she too realized his predicament.
“I’ll just sell everything.”
She looked at him and understood that perhaps she wasn’t helping his silent conflict by hesitating, and so, she began to search for prices online to determine the price point for the items he was selling. He watched as she typed and wondered if there was going to be generosity, but of course not. Why would she care? She didn’t know that this was the price he himself chose to pay for his mindless indulgence. It was only appropriate – and prudent, for he felt his resolve crumbling with every passing customer – that such a matter be handled by someone disinterested in his individual strife. He knew he’d do well to commit the time spent with his past interests to investing in his future pursuits, and yet, something about the departure from a familiar life demanded his sobriety. In all honesty, he was loathe to part with what he spent his previous years investing in, but the practicality of his circumstances was crushing. Without enough money left to invest in a future, what use had he of such things? And so, the poor young man sold what he could in pursuit of himself, hoping he wasn’t chasing after spirits.
The space of a transition forwards to a supposed “good” is, perhaps, the most harrowing of experiences for the young man. Without the confidence he found in the familiar objects of his life, he found himself bare before a world to which he had yet to lay claim; the most horrible condition of his nakedness was the utter suspension of his ability to find a beginning. Forwards was far from evident, yet backwards was a consistent reality – direction was all but lost to him, which was dangerous in the enterprise he called “pursuit.”
He took the pittance that he received with an affected smile and left, suppressing all the regret of a decision made in favor of uncertainty.