He walked to the bathroom, placed his hands on either side of the basin and stared into the drain, avoiding the mirror.
However, from the reflection another man said to him with contempt, ‘You’re an embarrassment,’ which wasn’t enough to make the first man look away from that sinkhole.
In fact, all the first man could do was look at the somewhat out of shape rim and the darkness within that black hole. He thought about agreeing with the man in the mirror, but then decided some caution was needed, because he knew that staring into the dark for too long can make things far worse than what they should be. So, he let go of the basin, and in bed that night he tried to think of anything other than that inky isolating blackness around him.
The next day, this man went to release tension. He exercised, bought a burrito at lunch and spent the afternoon watching arm wrestling at a city fair. He forgot about his life for a few fleeting hours until he returned home and a sharp, overbearing longing for more than all this broke into the night.
He told me that he would lie to himself and others too because he couldn’t give it up without showing them what was lurking inside himself; he couldn’t come to terms with the truth. His life spiraled into heart ache and he wondered if it was a symptom suffered by the soul rather than the mind when it got out of sorts. Regardless, he knew something was in pain and he wanted to know how to fix it.
He ran his fingers through his hair while sitting at his desk, staring at symbols on the screen. There was silence in that room where he sat, his heavy head weighted by an absence of thought and his breath smouldering against his teeth like the air against a grated furnace. The darkness surrounding him kept at bay by the glare of the screen, which illuminated his pale features. Again, he ran his fingers through his hair, then pressed the ends of his eyebrows to his cheeks, sat his fingers upon the keyboard and slouched.
Some time later he wondered if there was a single magical word that could steady his heart, and after that thought he said he felt somewhat better. He said, ‘If you imagine the impossible then any despair possessing you will leave for a bit, but no one has ever had enough imagination to keep it away for good.’
A pain in his side stabbed through a rather infinitely precious period of time, and he felt unpleasant, but not because of it, but because it led him back to that mirror, where he stared specifically at his side after lifting up his top – away from the darkness draining away the running water, which he said he could hear in the mirror.
I soon realised that he was a man engaged by nothing else other than the percolating paranoia initiated by his own jealous nature long ago and that there was nothing he could do for himself other than have patience and go travel.