Day Eight: "Where Is Everybody?"

Where Is Everybody?

When you find yourself in situations like these, you tell yourself stories: you make up a town, and you fill it with all these trappings of regular, everyday life, and in your mind you wander through it because it represents all the things you need. You start to feel like there are other people everywhere, always just out of sight, and in this story town you’re building for yourself, you uncover evidence supporting this bizarrely desperate form of paranoia. You hear rustling around corners, machines whirring along as if left alone only for a moment. You see smoke tendrils still rising from abandoned cigarettes. And this evidence builds and builds, and your desperation builds along with it, because you want to feel like you are getting closer and closer to these mystery people you’ve built for yourself, and at the same time you know, in part of your mind that is very quickly receding under a growing wave of fear and irrationality, that you need this charade to continue. You need to keep not finding them, because as long as you can sustain that illusion of searching, of mystery, you can feel like this is a story you belong in. And as soon as you can’t take it anymore, as soon as you are completely drained of the mental energy required to force yourself to live in this story, it ends. It all ends and you realize you are completely alone.

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