On the phone, at a gas station, in our dreams
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You see that the cruelty of the Happy Vertex is its fleeting nature. Line A plunges downward, line B eventually plateaus, and before you know it, the distractions take over, and you’re thinking about girls, or you take a brief but intense interest in Mazda Miatas. Soon you’ll think about money, nothing but money.
Helplessness makes monsters of people. He’s seen chairs thrown, exam tables kicked. The rooms pathologists speak to patients in now have everything bolted down.
I felt I was supposed to pretend I was a little sad he was gone — at least, for the first few days. I told him I missed him, because I did. I’m not a complete monster.
Everyone believes the world’s governments worked together to release the sterilization virus called only Z. Isn’t it likely the government sterilized the seeds as well? Who wants this disaster to drag out for decades?
“What are you going to do with it?” Nan whispers. “Do with what?” asks the boy who stole the vial. “I saw you,” Nan says. “I’m going to swallow it,” he says. His eyes are wide and a little disturbing. “Why?” Nan asks. “I want a horse inside of me,” he says.
Early on I thought about wiping your memory. I might as well admit this to you now. I thought maybe if you stopped believing you were something else on the inside, then you wouldn’t be sad anymore. And you wouldn’t change. This was before your body really began to transform.
We made eyes across the room. We made each other’s acquaintance, whatever that means. I made a move, you made a face. We made out anyway. We made bad pottery, we made bad jokes.
You had the face of a man who couldn’t help understanding everything — all of it, the whole pathetic, tragic human thing — and that draws people in. To me you were a magnet of kindness.
For many years — the majority of my life, in fact — acknowledging death’s inevitability exerted little psychological pressure on me. I had no fear of passing, as they say, from this world into the next, or, assuming no next world exists, simply entering oblivion.
Please understand: the external metamorphosis comes only at the very end, after a long, sustained effort. There is a lot of inner work you have to do before then. Also there is luck involved.