There is a hill to climb. He knows it, sees an endlessness revolving to a future that he thought he wasn't sure of. He can feel its repetitions; its smoothness is unmeasurable - featureless. He'd arranged to meet her in a restaurant. The place was crowded, and he had to share a table in the middle of the room. When at last she entered, out of breath and eager to apologise, the restaurant had emptied, and he sat exposed and stranded. You picked a funny place to sit, she said. Did he feel it then? rippled in the finger-bowl he used to clean the grease away with? Or later on - the slow necessity that smothered him, that hugged his will, insisting on the journey that he had to take anyway (You have to take it anyway, she'd said; why not start now? Nothing's fated, he'd replied; necessity's a fiction that we use to make excuses). Knots of people in the restaurant were smiling, as though he'd missed a joke they'd seen long since. Perhaps he played the fool, but he was damned if he'd admit it. Frankly, it attracted him. You can say he fell; he leapt.
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