Hmm.”

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The comfortable familiarity and the happy routines he’d established over the past two decades faded from his view. The facades he’d believed in so willingly melted away from his mind. Every tiny decision he’d made until now was unknowingly guiding him to this climax. For the first time in his short life, he now looked upon his own happiness. He saw clearly himself, and the world as it was around him.

 

It was right before him, and all he had to do was reach out his hand and take it.

 

But he blinked. Just a momentary pause. And the second hand on the clock continued its tired march forward. 

 

The walls began sliding back into their places. The simple purity of his imagination began to twist back into the recognizable shapes of a too-small apartment. His world had ended, began anew, and swiftly ended again, all between the subtle ticks of the clock that sat poised above his head.

 

It was over now. That one fractionally second of clarity had now decayed into a memory that years on, he can’t quite recall in its entirety. That one moment, in-between seconds, was all he had been allotted. And he knew he’d never have a chance to grasp it again.

 

He looked forward, and saw her eyes looking back at him expectantly.

 

He couldn’t help himself but feel sad for her. Remorseful of the roll she had unwittingly fulfilled. He couldn’t say if his revelation was her doing, or if she was just the unfortunate soul that would forever be linked in his mind to the uncorrupted bliss he’d felt in between her quiet presence. 

 

He could cry for her, and later that night after she had left, he did. 

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“Is there any more?” I asked, looking up from my laptop.

 

“No that’s it. Just the one page.” He shrugged.

 

“I liked it.” I assured him.

 

“Eh. It’s alright. I think it’s…too much.”

 

I closed my computer. “Too much?”

 

“Yeah, nobody talks like that.”

 

“There wasn’t any talking in it.” 

 

“You know what I mean. It’s pretentious.”

 

“I wouldn’t call it that. Your old work was way more pretentious than this.” He smiled at that. I knew he would. Of all the writers I’ve met, could match his burning hatred for his own work. He hated what he wrote, insecure of his tone. He’d write ‘I fell in love with Autumn’ instead of ‘I love Fall’ or something along those lines. He’d read his sentence and kick himself for it. But it’s just how he writes, and has written as long as I’ve known him. He loved that wordy, flowery, ancient prose, but he deeply despised himself for the practice of it.

 

“You should expand on it.” I suggested.

“There’s nothing to expand on.” He rebutted. “That’s the whole story, just that feeling. I’ve no idea how I could flesh it out more.”

 

“Well,” I thought, “who are they? The guy and girl in it?”

 

“Just people, I guess.”

 

“You?”

 

“Maybe. In some ways.”

 

“Well that explains that.” I sighed, “you’ve always hated your work when it’s about you.”

 

He smiled again, “it just always feels selfish.”

 

“So you’re not going to finish it?”

 

“I’ve nothing else to say.”

 

And he told the truth. In his mind, he had said everything he felt he needed to.

 

 

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