Reading the fine print

He’d made it. It was a close-cut affair. Each and every aspect of creation had conspired to keep him from this moment. The alarm had absconded with its frequent snoozes, causing a mild bout of oversleeping. During his mad dash to get dressed, each and every item of clothing had found an hitherto undiscovered delaying tactic. The elevator had taken an extra round out of spite, and an unprecedented number of friendly neighbors had greeted him with invitations to cordial discussions. But here he was, firmly seated on the bus, on his way to –

To his dismay, the announcer voice proclaimed this was very much a different line than he had so efforted to board. Alas, creation had won this round

In loving memory

He had it on the tip of his mind, at the very edge of his thought, just out of reach. The memory irked, beckoned, jolted and honked, all to no avail; the specifics simply would not arrive, just the metadata that there was something there to be found

Thus began an extensive search, through browser histories, search fields and many a loose association. At last, it turned up, visible as a link preview, only one click away. He clicked. What turned up was the most dreaded of words

Sorry, that page doesn’t exist

A shame. It was a good tweet, and it would have brought joy had it been retweeted at this very moment in time. Alas, no such luck

De gustibus non est disputandum

This was bad news. This was very bad news. Every attempt to refute it failed – every test, every trial, every line of inquiry, they all turned out the same. The sense of taste was gone. Irrefutably gone

This would mean getting tested, conclusion foregone. It would also mean staying at home for a couple of weeks, with all the logistics that entailed. It would also also mean that it’d be utterly meaningless to eat the jar of ice cream she’d bought a few days ago

However

It would definitely be heavenly to eat once taste returned. Something to look forward to, at least

Dress for the job you want

It was has last day at work. This presented something of a challenge. What, pray tell, do you wear on your last day at work?

For an uncomfortably long moment, she thought she’d wear something that suited the general finality of the situation. Something somber, resolute and relentlessly appropriate; something that would send the correct signals, for any given definition of correct

But then, she realized

It was the very last day. There would be no more days after it; none of the opinions of those people mattered any more. In essence, it was one giant wardrobe opportunity. There were no wrong options

And so she set to work, adding more feathers and more glitter than anyone would ever had thought humanly possible. And then, she kept going

Summoning the familiar

As he slumped into the comfy chair, too tired to move or do much of anything other than sit, a song came on the radio. It was a song he had heard many a time before, but never really listened to. Now, in his present state of utter tiredness, the defenses usually mustered by familiarity were nowhere to be seen, and thus he took it all in as if for the first time. And so it came to pass that he realized what he had until now assumed was a jaunty little ditty, was in fact an in-depth explanation of how having a womb worked and malfunctioned. Transfixed, this new knowledge flooded into him, changing his life trajectory forever

Executive dysfunction

She was stressed out of her mind. In five hours, it was time to go, and she had things to do before then. Having planned it all out the day before, she knew it’d take two and a half hours to do the things, three tops if something came up. She’d even divided it all into neat, timestamped subactivities. Which, somehow, only served to make her even more stressed; stacked together, those individual activities stretched out far longer than the time remaining. Thus, at the appointed hour, she had rushed only the bare minimum, now running to catch the train

Death of the author

It had been a long, arduous struggle, but it was finally done. The text she had written was literally the worst piece of wordsmithing she’d (or anyone’d) had ever done, but it was in fact unequivocally done, and that’s what counts. With the thought that being done is a decision, and not an objective state of things in the world, she turned it in, and went to sleep

Three weeks later, her text was graded. A+. Running through the emotional stages – shock, denial, negotiation, acceptance, joy – at record pace, she then did something unexpected. She took pride in her work

Abrupt readiness

“I just want to let you know, I am ready to go the distance. To do whatever it takes. To go above and beyond. To do anything. Nothing is out of scope. Everything is on the table. Whatever it is, I am eager and ready to go. Just point me towards the task and watch me perform it with alacrity. No one has ever been more up for the job”

“Sir, this is the post office. All you need to do is sign this form and then you are all set”

“I’ll do it!”

“…that’s the spirit”

Family accounting

She woke up. For once, she had managed a nice nine hours, a solid unequivocal sleep. Instinctively, she reached for her phone, unmuted it, and noticed the second unusual thing of that day. She had missed calls. A lot of them. All of them from miscellaneous relatives whom she probably, but not necessarily, might recognize if she walked past them on the streets

It must be important

Overcoming the general weirdness of the situation, she quickly determined the nature of the problem. She hadn’t paid for the Netflix account this month, which apparently caused such a tangle of consequences that it literally involved everyone, directly or indirectly. Clearly, dear auntie did not honor her promise of not telling anyone the password

Backtracking

She was lost

She could tell, since the words used to describe the buildings she walked past had shifted from “derelict apartment complexes” to “ostentatious lawn ornaments” and “spacious garages with room for mid-life experimentation”. Not her usual haunts. Adding to the overall lostness was the fact that the exact route that brought her there had somehow faded from memory. One moment she was walking along, and the next – wham, suddenly all these too big and too quiet houses

The houses were not completely quiet, though. As she walked past, garage lamps turned themselves on, charting her trajectory through this unknown neighborhood. While she did not know the way home, she did know where she’d been. As she kept walking, she pondered that this was not an altogether unfamiliar situation