For They Are Many

“Can you imagine it being any other way than it is?” he asks. He has always wanted to ask this.

“Yes,” she replies, simply.

“And?”

She shrugs. “Some are better, some are worse. Some much better, some much worse.”

He nurses his coffee. Thinks on this. He is free of disease so far as he knows. He is drinking luxury everyone has forgotten is luxury. He has a roof over his head. He is still in love.

“So everything is a matter of degrees,” he says, a little while later.

“Yes,” she says. “And no.”

“Now you’re just being cryptic,” he complains with a smile.

“I don’t want to create certainties where there aren’t any,” she says. “I don’t believe in it.”

A moment’s though. “‘I want to wade into the greyness of it, and fill my lungs,'” he recites. “‘Like smoke, like cloud, to feel unmoored from everything and cast adrift.”

“Not from everything.”

Of course not. “But from some things.”

“Sure,” she says. “From some things.”

“‘And face my fears,'” he continues the quotation, “‘for they are many.”

“Something like that,” she says, and for the moment they are both satisfied.