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I could not sleep. The alarm clock, that little devil, winked at me – 00:30 – with its bright red eyes. Something – a restlessness, in the form of a thought – prevented me from fully giving in to sleep’s silky touch. I could not reach the culpable thought, could not quite put my finger on it, so to speak, for it was tied up too intimately with an emotion against which my entire body protested and resisted. I avoided this thought as bare feet dance around a piece of sun-licked pavement at the end of a scorching summer’s day. Feeling little desire to give in to sleeplessness in bed, I dragged myself, albeit somewhat unwillingly, out of bed and toward the closet. After carelessly covering myself with some clothes, I descended the familiar set of steep stairs. This chain of events is all too well-known to me, and typically culminates in a late-night outing. Tonight was no exception. I knew that in bed I would not sleep, and so I fled. Away from that deceptively comfortable resting place, into the open air. How reassuring it can be to walk across the planet with the universe on your shoulders! To be confined and to be free, how necessary they both are! With these ideas in mind, forcibly consuming the cool autumn air, I approached the nearby park. I commanded myself not to enter it, as I always do, and disregarded my own command, as I always do. The black trees and bushes strewn around the dark-brown path aroused in me a universal kind of sadness, tinged with fear, which could be alleviated only by the thought – the certainty – that this is nature at its darkest.

When faced with a deafening silence, it is difficult to distinguish between sounds produced by one’s own thoughts and those originating from without. Some time passed before the realization came over me that a foreign voice, a male voice, penetrated the stillness of the park – and with it, the clatter of my internal dialogue. I managed to isolate the lonely voice in the stillness that surrounded it.  I listened, minutes passed, and while I expected a reply to the voice from somewhere out of the darkness, none came. No one responded. A lonely talker in the night? A madman, surely? And yet, the only difference between the two of us was that his monologue was vocalized, while mine remained unspoken.

I moved closer to the origin of the voice, careful not to be noticed – more out of instinct than premeditation. At last I could hear him clearly, and I could see him now, too – an indistinct body shrouded in a thick black cloak. I had already sensed from afar the tense emotion that pierced his still youthful voice, but now that his words had taken meaningful shape, the intense passion that marked each syllable became perceptible as well:

“I don’t remember it! I don’t remember it when I wake up, not when I get dressed, I don’t remember it when I have breakfast. I pour milk into my little bowl and I don’t remember that you left me. I drink my coffee and I don’t remember you! I drive to work and feverishly fix my eyes upon the road, upon the entire world, and I don’t remember you. I work all day and remember you not at all! Someone might ask me during the day, and I might offer a description of what happened, of the situation, of the past, of you, of us together, but I don’t remember you. I don’t remember the details of your physiognomy, I don’t remember that out of a billion faces I would always choose to wake up next to yours – not because your face held the greatest beauty in any objective sense, but because I loved it, because I adored it, and that is enough. And I don’t remember that your words were as familiar to me as my own, that your concerns, desires, wishes and wants were as dear to me as my own – no I do not remember you! Even as I make my way home, I don’t remember that it used to be our home. When I make myself dinner, I don’t remember that I used to cook for you, too. I don’t remember that we watched television together and read books after dinner, the first desperately needing the latter in greater proportion, we agreed, in order to protect one’s mind. And I don’t remember how we used to rush upstairs giddily in the sweet anticipation of spending the night together. No, no I remember none of these things, none of them…”

At this point I turned my head, and the little devil smiled at me with its beastly eyes. 02:30.