It’s the inconsistencies that really bother me.
Sometimes the measurements are imperial instead of metric, which doesn’t change anything, but I can tell the difference. Other times the errors are really glaring, like when Toronto is the capital instead of Ottawa. It used to enrage me, when They didn’t care enough to get the details right. Then I thought about all the things I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you the capital of Madagascar for example; sometimes I forget if there are a thousand, or a hundred, grams in a kilogram. Now I just accept it. Nothing makes me angry anymore.
Feeling tired, and grateful for the opportunity, I rest my head against the window, enjoying the chill against my forehead. It’s raining today, the bus is packed. Transit is always busier in the rain. I was lucky to get a seat. I know it wasn’t luck at all though; I always have a seat at the beginning. Hordes of faceless, depth-less, cardboard people make their way on and off the bus, while I watch droplets slide down the window, thinking of her. I do my best not to pay them any mind, they aren’t important. They make me sad, milling around like mindless ants, background noise, ignorant of the real story, the lucky bastards.
If I were to talk to one, they wouldn’t do anything but spout nonsense about the rain or the bus, before getting off at the next stop. If you push, the cracks begin to show. Ask about work or family, and the cardboard people get wild eyed, upset; sometimes even violent.
I used to do it all the time, when I stopped being one of them. At first I was looking for someone else like myself, someone who could see what was going on. When I gave up on that hope, I did it to rebel, to change things for the sake of changing them, just to see if it could be done.
They don’t like that, when I do things I’m not supposed to do, poking holes at the facade. It causes Them to finish sooner, so I don’t do it anymore, I want to get as much time away as I can manage. Its better here, how horrible is that?
So I sit in the bus, like I always sit in the bus; while it’s raining, the way it always rains, and think about her, while the bus passes our favorite coffee shop. I consider getting off and going inside. I could buy a coffee, and stand in the rain, letting the water cascade off me, while scalding java drips down my throat. I like contrasts. But that isn’t what I’m here to do, that isn’t what They’re here to see. So instead of getting out, I let the bus continue.
As the coffee shop vanishes into the distance, I know I should be thinking about her, but instead my mind turns to Them. I know I shouldn’t. At any moment They could get angry and stop, They don’t like it when I break the wall between us, but inevitably
They seep into my thoughts, like a slowly flooding basement. I attempt to dam it by thinking of her, our first meeting at the coffee shop, that time at the beach when we first made love, the night at her sisters wedding when she said yes, the last time I saw her, wrenching the ring from her finger with tears in her eyes; all useless. I can’t help it, anymore than a moth can resist being drawn towards a flame.
When did I first notice Them, watching while I performed these same acts again and again? I couldn’t point out the exact moment; it was more of a gradual realization, slowly building up over time, until the truth hit me square in the face. What a beautiful instant that was, when I was finally free of the tableau, a few precious seconds before the end swiftly came.
A swimsuit shop passes by; above it is a sign featuring a tropical beach. I should at least make an effort; it might extend my time by a few minutes. I think of the beach, the look in her eyes as she removed her bikini top, the gritty feel of the sand as we reached orgasm together.
Ah, I don’t really care. It wasn’t real.
When it started again from the beginning, I was the only one who noticed. Everyone else kept repeating the same motions; I was the only one with awareness. I’d have thought I was in Hell, if I hadn’t just returned from there.
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