There are times when the understanding does not come until later, when it no longer matters. Other times I do what I must do, not knowing my own mind, and I am led astray.

The pain of having been so openly rejected was always with him. But now, like the tide, it ebbed and flowed. At times it flowed up to his feet, at other times it withdrew far away, so far away he could barely detect it.

It’s the same with menus and men and just about anything else: we think we’re choosing things for ourselves, but in fact we may not be choosing anything. It could be that everthing’s being decided in advance and we pretend we’re making choices. Free will may be an illusion. I often think that.

Hey, what is it with you? Why are you so spaced out? You still haven’t answered me.”

I probably still haven’t completely adapted to the world,” I said after giving it some thought. “I don’t know, I feel like this isn’t the real world. The people, the scene: they just don’t seem real to me.”

Midori rested an elbow on the bar and looked at me. “There was something like that in a Jim Morrison song, I’m pretty sure.”

People are strange when you’re a stranger.

Everyone ended up alone sooner or later. He was thirty at the time, beyond the age for complaining about loneliness. He felt as if he had put on several years all at once. But that was all. No further emotion welled up inside him.

Time, of course, topples everyone in its path equally-the way that driver beat his old horse until it died on the road. But the thrashing we receive is one of frightful gentleness. Few of us even realize that we are being beaten.

You might think you made a new world or a new self, but your old self is always gonna be there, just below the surface, and if something happens, it’ll stick its head out and say ‘Hi.’ You don’t seem to realize that. You were made somewhere else.

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