I didn’t know it would come down to this. He looking over my shoulder, me waiting for him to disappear. But then again I guess we never really think anything will come down to the way it does. That’s life. More circumstance than planning. Have you ever heard anyone say that everything actually went according to plan? Travel plans occasionally maybe. That’s as far as it goes.
He kept sitting there. Just looking. Over my shoulder. His breathing a steady hum drum of white noise in my ear. My hair tussled, mind disheveled. If only the path were more clear. Circles, always walking in circles never finding the end. Until it is the end. Do you know it when you find it? Is it as simple as exiting the hedge maze, after hours of searching for just the right pattern of twists and turns, exhaling in relief at the exit. Or is it something more. John Green’s idea of the Great Perhaps. Though it wasn’t born in him he’s disseminated the idea to the up and coming generation. I get it. I follow.
But that gets me nowhere from here. With him. Breathing. Over my shoulder. Need to shake it. Erase it. But in order to do that I have to answer the question. What is the question? Is he the mad hatter? I don’t know. Wandering. Wandering inside my own mind… pull out. What do I see? Nothing. Just me. And he, breathing. Breathe. Focus. Blink. Breathe. Repeat.
The screen of my laptop comes into focus before me. As if it hadn’t been in front of me for the last hour. “What is it I’m supposed to be looking for?” I ask.
“Something of consequence” comes his dry reply.
“could you be more vague?” I quip
“no” he states simply and our brief banter comes to an end. So I go back to staring at the blank screen. What will please him? I’ve been given no direction other than to find something of consequence. Such a relative statement. Everything and nothing can be and is or is not consequential depending on the state of mind, timeframe, and mood. Any greater combination of things can drag into this subjective equation of no mathematical background and poof, you have consequence. Drivel. Spewing drivel to stall and spare myself. What exactly?
I type into a Google search “consequence” and he immediately shoots it down. I tell him not to criticize research skills and that I’m gearing up. Connect the dots. The chain game. All patterns and linear thinking that can arrive at a place you hadn’t yet thought of and so I go. First result, Merriam Webster’s Dictionary version of the word. Of course I click in, there’s never one simple definition of an English word. At least one that I’ve yet to find. (If you come across one, let me know)
1. the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier: The accident was the consequence of reckless driving.
2. an act or instance of following something as an effect, result, or outcome.
3. the conclusion reached by a line of reasoning; inference.
4. importance or significance: a matter of no consequence.
5. importance in rank or position; distinction: a man of great consequence in art.