Now back, here is a grocery store. You push
your cart down the aisle and see that a man
leaning on a cane is watching you. He stares
with apparent recognition. As you plunk items
into your cart and cross things off the list,
your memory plays back incidents and faces,
yet all you are able to come up with is the
thought of deciding to cut school for the
day. You were scuttling furtively through
the halls, trying to make it out the rear
exit. As you neared the parking lot and were
almost off school property, a man loomed up
from behind some shrubbery, grabbed your wrist
and took you to the office where culprits
such as yourself had to report. Rumor had
it he had been some sort of amateur rugby
star before an injury forced him to quit,
and he was hired by the highschool to patrol
You deliberately head the shopping cart down the aisle toward the man, pass within a foot of him, and although your eyes lock with his, you are both inscrutable. You veer the cart off toward the checkout line.
Is he the person you think he is? Too much time has passed to know.
After the jet-lag abates, you turn on your computer to begin working, but first check for e-mail. You don't expect any since before leaving you let everyone know you would be away. Yet message after message keeps rolling in, some from the same individuals, asking over and over why you have not responded, followed by a vague sentence recalling that you might be off somewhere. At one time, what you said would have been remembered. Now, those you know are so overwhelmed with business and anxiety that all but the most self-pertinent facts fall from their minds.
The authors of these messages do not seem concerned, or particularly interested in the whereabouts of your actual self, but desire your cyber- self, whose fingers flit over a computer keyboard, the sound of typing audible to no one else, before a single finger presses the "send" command and a message floats electronically through space.
After a while you become reacquainted with the sounds of your fingers clicking on the keyboard, and soon they become inaudible to you as well.
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