…the locale did not make him think of her, nor did most things. He felt no negativity about the time they had spent together, but simply did not dwell on it much. She had been a seat filler, memorable as the smiling face of a beautiful girl in the window of a passing train, inspiring a fleeting moment of joy and promise, immediately forgotten with the opening of that day’s newspaper.

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Life was a swirl of mysteries, each one waiting to be plucked up and explored, but not necessarily solved. As the weight of responsibility bore down on a person, it could feel like a long list of chores leading up to the final one – figuring out how to die with dignity. But Quincy’s interpretation of his surroundings seemed a truer representation of life’s meaning, or rather, the lack of meaning other than to dazzle and delight and befuddle from cradle to grave.

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Was she happy? She thought – yes, reasonably so. Then again, what was happiness but the vast terrain between ecstasy and agony? Was this too small an ambition?

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Was happiness (which was perhaps achieved not by getting what you wanted, but rather, by obtaining what you didn’t know you wished for until it was in hand) a hologram that would continually change appearance with the slightest shift of perspective? Or maybe happiness by definition was a temporary state of being recognizable only in hindsight. It was impossible to catch what always managed to be overrun and end up in the rear view mirror.

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If Audrey sensed what he was contemplating, her silence did not let on. He turned from the window and found her looking at him with a flawless poker face. It may have been attentiveness and curiosity to hear what he would say next, or perhaps she was expecting from him what women throughout the ages, often against their better judgment, had expected of men.

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