Along the Asymptote

Work had started out rather busy today: there were a number of changes that needed to be made in light of the program cancellations from out virus outbreak. I had spent my entire day, so it seemed, creating presentations that in some way or another drew attention to the increased viewership of news programs; people were understandably concerned, no doubt, at the world’s current state of affairs, and with sporting events either cancelled or suspended, there was little else in actuality to watch save the few and by now evidently jejune regularly scheduled programming.

So went the entirety of my day: all other tasks that had needed attendance were put off, and by the end of the work day at 5:30PM, I was so spent by my endeavors that I sought not to extended my hours as what seemed to be the custom for the past weeks’ working in half-confinement and promptly ended my shift.

And thus the chance for thought: for a moment to behold oneself and one’s state of affairs, calmly, evenly, as if peering into a glass. I had laid supine on my unmade bed, legs akimbo, staring out of the closed window from which the blinds had been fully raised. Bare branches stretched throughout the sky, unawake by the damp waft of early spring that only haltingly had blown through. I resolved to prepare for the evening early, despite a listlessness to commence the chores I had been delaying; I went downstairs, dined, and reassumed my outing clothes to prepare for an evening promenade.

Outside I had found not a few number of people as I made my way around the block. Each resident I espied had a characteristic not altogether usual for a typical stroll: a wariness evinced not least a single glance upon my approaching figure. I resolved to change course: not for want of solitude, but for a change in my surroundings and an openness of space that the opposite direction would afford.

The most curious thing had happened, however: the streets on which I walked were unfamiliar, and though I had been in my neighborhood traversed countless times, I found myself in an area wholly unknown. And so too was my mind transported to a time when I in truth had been alone.

The streets of Chicago were quiet and homely: dense from apartments but airy from grass lawns. Early spring weakly descended upon earth’s dome: white clouds spangled a sky fading from the sunset’s departure. I was alone, wholly alone, miles from who had known my origin; miles from my home. The air tensed from balancing its windy breath; soon too was a surge of life to come.

Among the semi-attached homes along the route were single-family homes that had been abandoned. Some had been removed, some had been barricaded by wooden boards; all had overgrown lawns. Had they not been so obscured by their present desuetude, one would have imagined them to form a quaint picture. At some point, they had been.

Was this how you were taken down? First a breach, then a deluge: the empire strains into collapse. Had each of us girded ourselves for this fall into rubble? When our hair was to thin, our skin to pockmark? We had steeled ourselves like concrete, but the water had seeped in.

I had walked to the edge of this fantastic route, in the neighborhood’s twilight, and at each crossing I had seen myself far away. I was soon to return to my apartment: I had many things to write; and there were people to meet, people who were young and eager and earnest; I was skittish, the world was new. Approaching the next street, one that had not curved, I had turned the path – my mind, forever cogitating in the background, screeched to a halt. I recognized where I was: the road just a few blocks from my house. The spell was broken.

I strolled the path, vacant. Night was quickly falling through the twilight; it was unequivocally dusk. A man and a woman passed by wheeling a baby carriage; I nodded in respect, a few feet on a sward of grass. The path familiar, between an older woman walking a dog; a young man in jogging gear; a mother and adolescent girl walking together. I avoid each, politely, soundlessly, instinctually.

And so I had entered into my home; I had lost track of time; I had been out for nearly an hour. The gloaming outside had snuck into the half-light of the house; the first floor was partly in shadow. Curious, it had been a different dim so many times I had seen it from hours within, and had each time imperceptibly vanished into the darkness. Now it seemed nearly spectacular, as if before some terrific wave were about to crash.

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