Adequate.  Okay.  Unremarkable.

This is how he feels every day of his life.  No matter how much someone challenges the idea (if they even know he’s feeling that way to begin with), no matter how much his friends reassure him, or strangers praise him, or his enemies show that he’s anything but unremarkable by the depth of their hatred, he always returns to that same feeling once he’s alone, once he’s by himself again at the end of the day.  When all the friends, all the strangers, all the enemies, all the latest lovers, have all gone back to their own lives, he’s left standing in front of the bathroom mirror, still smeared with yesterday’s rogue spurt of toothpaste, half-fogged from the steam of unnecessary evening showers.  And he’s left with only his own eyes to refer to, his own expression, his own silent judgment.  And he always finds himself wanting.

Perhaps it was the ill temperament of his family that left him feeling on an inevitable road to a low-turnout funeral.  Perhaps it was the failure to secure the next stage of his life after graduation, and the subsequent years of drifting.  Perhaps it was the failure to see his friends any more than sporadically.  Perhaps it was the high turnover rate of people in his bed, and the subsequent emotional desensitisation.  Perhaps it was simply the advancement of age, and the impossibility of seeing the same sparkle in the world that, as a child, he once took for granted.

In any case, the face in the mirror casts nightly, melancholy, almost bored judgment on him, and he wonders what he’s done to deserve it.  Or maybe what he actually wonders, is what he should do in response.  Because it doesn’t always feel like an irreversible decline.  There are still little moments of wonder.  The desensitisation is more like a trapped switch needing to be released, than something wholly unchangeable.  But the problem is, as the years go on, and the means of releasing that switch continue to elude him, the glue hardens and sets, and he starts to wonder if he’ll ever be able to make it come loose.


Christopher Moore


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