If you asked me to describe the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, I would say no one. Every time I turn around, I see things too differently than I just had. I am entirely unreliable. A police sketch artist would finds me a useless informant. Not that I would have any hand in stopping a criminal, anyways, lest I derail the long process of some grand scheme working to the benefit of a case I might sympathize with–or worse, miscalibrated the alignment of a cog or pulley in the cosmic Rube Goldberg machine manufacturing rations of karma. The simplest kind of life one can live leaves one complicit only in the schemes generating their own momentum. So you see, I cannot just tell you what the most beautiful woman I could ever imagine looks like; I am entirely halted by the defense mechanisms protecting myself from cosmic meddling. But since desire is only a temporary state, and because undesirability has a knack for being not just a catalyst toward a state of desire, but an incredibly efficient teacher–though a cold and callous one–I would not willingly welcome undesirability into my life. So, yes, you might say that I actually know exactly what the woman looked like, and that my persistent reluctance in describing her may not cause as much trouble to my own mental faculties as I persuade you it would. But even my own handwriting becomes too difficult to read lately, which might lend credence to my firm belief that describing what she looked like will not just be entirely inaccurate after this much time has passed, but that I might lack all the emotional energy I had mustered when I once gazed upon her from across the room. Describing her to you now, then, would be no different than listing anatomical parts in the order that they arose in my mind (and even that order would not reveal any kind of preference). For certainly she had eyes, ears, lips, and the composition of a face. And the descriptions I choose to omit would also not yield any sort of significance. Nor would I dare produce the emotional energy required to place any adjective upon any of these features, for resolving to choose between connotations would require some effort of recollection that can no longer be summoned. I had resolved to let her features disappear entirely, so that when I did see her again, even the slightest pang would not set me back on that path of yearning again. To yearn would mean to place intentions behind my gaze and to set my footsteps on the path of undesirability. I purposely made myself forget several personal details, so that I might more easily drift. Is drifting really what I need to do? Drifting means living without a center or base. It’s one reason why I choose a different spot, every time, to do my most mundane chores. It’s like this: There are certain duties that I cannot escape doing everyday. I must always shit, eat, sleep, and more. And as I develop a routine for these things–from wiping a certain way, to establishing one kind of diet–then the more I lose the ability to shift reality around me. But stopping these things entirely would make me entirely uncivilized, yes? To compensate, I make sure to do these things at a new location. It’s not that I can’t let myself do the same thing in the same place more than once; it’s certainly something to avoid though, lest it form a habit. That’s the real motive here: avoiding habits. A habit is the worst thing that could happen to a drifting person. When you’re entirely weightless in the center of a void of indistinguishable environments, a habit will form new ground. Habits lead to patterns, and patterns lead to anticipation, and anticipation stems from desires. Eliminating habits become the most surefire way of escaping. If I become inescapable, I open myself to become discovered, and I will not be able to interweave without friction. It shouldn’t do any harm to describe my surroundings, as they will soon be forgotten: The buildings here bring the sky much closer to the ground. The power lines hang too low, threatening to reveal the ropes and wires keeping things intact. I had to find the hotel. The room in the hotel was small; I might have been placed in a mousetrap that, in the morning, I would be pushed out of and humanely set free from and into the streets. In the morning, I went out early enough before anyone else’s volition could force its will upon me. Every step was mine to take and no one else’s. When you are alone, your footsteps are not expected to yield to any particular destination, and you lose all the pressure of being a guide or caretaker. For all of the costs of being alone, there is no feeling better than this one, and I will always yearn for this method of escape if backed into the cycle of routines. The thing that makes being alone so attractive and relieving has nothing to do with the people around you, but with the complete freedom from any social or emotional obligations. The roads appeared stretched out in the daytime, and I didn’t know from which direction I had even come from the night before. The clothing I wore everyday were incredibly uncomfortable. Every time I bought a shirt in one size, I would become a size too small a couple weeks later. Always, the sleeves dig into my armpits, and the curve of my crooked spine made the shirt tighter on one side than the other. Everything always boiled down to the same pair of jeans and a shirt with earthy tones that I could wear at any time or place. I always wear these clothes, and one other shirt of the same material but a different color, until they begin to stink, at which point I might make an effort to wash them, but truthfully I don’t remember the last time they actually smelled bad enough to need to be washed. Usually they just need a spot check. Then I would wash out the crusted pieces of spaghetti sauce or other food grime. But here’s what mattered: 1) The clothes were incredibly comfortable in most types of weather and 2) The style was casual but formal enough to look decently impressive or thought-out for any situation or rendezvous. This versatility was important because it relieved me of any unnecessary actions. And I can describe this best with the Rubik’s cube: neat and uniform but almost too complex at first glance. But then, after forcing myself to live in that patternless speckle of multicolored squares, I gradually shifted the pieces. This was not of any voluntary action, mind you. The cube will always resolve itself as you make sense of it. At some point, the cube will become too uniform; life patterns emerge, sending me back on the fast track to habit. Destroy this by shuffling the cube randomly. Shifting the pieces back to the wrong spots on purpose wouldn’t cut it, because I would always instinctively know how to get things back on track, and learned instincts are incredibly powerful. Plus, being too careless about how one mixes the cube only creates an exercise with the hands that will eventually be memorized by the brain. And what about those people who could solve Rubik’s cubes in record breaking times? Ask any of them, and they will all tell you that it takes an incredible amount of practice before any super-human genius comes into play. Therefore, it was inevitable that I, too, would become a genius of the cube the longer I stuck with it. Was the person to blame for it? Well, yes, but that’s the wrong question to ask though. Rather, the cube had become too familiar, too predictable. Or, the model and form was too simple. There are an infinite amount of possible shapes to hang the analogy on. But it’s inevitable that these shapes would become mastered, too. And if you keep adding sides to the shape, what do you eventually get? A sphere! A one-sided sphere! What a cruel and sick joke. It was the perfect metaphor demonstrating how the attempts to escape fate are, in itself, following a path of fate. And what if the limits of your imagination and practicality bring you to the sphere too quickly? Despite the existence of an infinite amount of shapes, the limited human imagination can construct only a finite amount of them before resigning itself to the spherical fate. But, even the theory of mathematics has a way of turning a sphere inside out. The struggle, then, was how to unlock that theory in reality. If you could break the shape entirely, then there would no longer exist the “one” path to that ultimate fate. I would have to devote myself to this purpose if I wanted to get in the space between broken shapes. As I’ve said before, I hate purpose-oriented thinking for the effect it has on me, but I might have to subscribe to one purpose if only to escape them all. Hurtling at X miles per hour, I crossed yellowing countryside and strained rivers beneath a web of power lines to reach her whom I had not yet even known. And when I finally arrived, amidst the bustle of students pouring in from the train turnstiles, I found her entirely out of place–doubtlessly envied–and thus relinquished to this small section of the mall. Every time I left, I found a reason to return. Except, like cracking an egg, repeated attempts to break the shell only make a bigger mess, sprinkling egg shells into the batter. A swift, unflinching stroke of the wrist is required. The yolks will bask in the batter, and stirring must follow. But even if the first strike isn’t executed properly, who in their right mind would just throw out the whole thing? By allowing myself this exception, my approach had always been ungraceful. It begged that she participate with me in fishing the shells out of the mix of what I, solely, wanted to create for myself. Only those with pity in their hearts would participate; only those who too dwell in failure enough to see the failure of another as something charming or desirable. Desire is entirely the wrong word here. What I mean is settling. Only someone who would settle for the failure they perceive in themselves would partake in removing the shells. And so, the more I approached to bask in her presence with a new excuse, the more I brought myself down to a level that a self-respecting person would never bring themselves down to. As I said before, to describe her would invite certain undesirable outcomes into my life, long before its natural course, and I am a person who cannot allow themselves to usher in any outcome, because that would then make it strictly unnatural. Not that hard to understand, yes? So let’s get off the subject entirely. I had an incorrigible itch in my foot that could not be satisfied. And I could not just remove my shoe in the cafe and let myself appear like any of the other derelicts brushing their teeth or seeking refills for their plastic water cups. I did not look particularly like anybody. In fact, I often felt entirely invisible so long as I didn’t think too hard about myself or speak with anyone for more than a few perfunctory exchanges. I actually had left most of my things outside for this reason. By having less on your person, it implies that you actually have more elsewhere. On the other hand, carrying everything with you would make it known that you had a need to keep several essentials to your body. An exaggerated example to demonstrate this point, that you can then scale downwards to understand my situation: Imagine if a man walked into a public establishment with a roll of toilet paper in his hand. How desperate he must appear, yes? Now, when I was out there, I carried on me a tactical military backpack. And slung around my shoulder was a sort of messenger bag. Add to this my skin-tight copper-infused elastic leggings, my versatile hiking boots, the wrappings around my arms, and various keys on rings around my waist. These garments were naturally concealed by my sweat pants and wind breaker, but as for the bags, I had to entrust their safety behind inconspicuous but plain-sighted locations outside (on the less-seen side of an electrical box, tucked between a shrub and a brick wall enclosing a suburban neighborhood, etc). As I just said, to appear ready for anything, to appear suited to the elements, would be to radiate the aura of functionality to the point of over all dysfunctionality! And that was the one thing I needed to avoid if I wanted to remain unnoticed. The perfunctory remarks I mentioned above, they would be completely deprived of someone who appears utterly too functional. The smallest exchange of words passed between strangers in a cafe is precisely the bare minimum amount of communication necessary to establish equality. People are not afraid to talk too little with others of a similar strata. If you look to me and, without any words, determine that I am the kind of person whom you can entrust your belongings to while you use the restroom–to see me as an eligible participant in the unspoken rules of this sociological context–then you have admitted me to being like yourself at the necessary minimum. But, if you feel that you must add in a sense of affability–if you must put out more effort to acclimate the sense of naturalness that my presence is offsetting–then you must not be feeling natural. And if you are not feeling natural around me, then there is something in my aura or appearance that has signaled to you that I am other. So, by relinquishing that which makes me feel safe and prepared, I might hopefully help you entrust me by allowing you to feel unslighted and unquestioning and without triggering any defense mechanisms in you. And in order to do that, I must also remove from me any intention or motive from my gaze, from my posture, from my aura, that might indicate that I find your beauty astonishing and irresistible. By giving this much to you, I may have already shocked your senses into considering me as other. As I’ve said I’ve said before countless times before, what she looked like did not matter. It had nothing to do with what she actually looked like. And so as I’ve said before, beauty is no spirit of the universe, but simply what many have glimpsed before and mistaken for something else. But even so, whatever it was, it was something I knew when I saw it. The feeling of recognition was entirely indescribable, beyond all human logic, but one that I recognized at the precise moment of its appearance. It was a feeling, like those explosions, that were entirely too loud until I finally recognized them as a cacophony whispers. I don’t remember if I went over the whispers. When I was very young, I had fallen into a fever. I hardly remember anything about the time of that event, but I know that I was young. There were men hiding in my curtains, and they were speaking so incredibly loud that I at first mistook their voices for explosions. When I screamed and called my mother into the room to help me, the explosions would stop without any trace of an echo. When I told her that the explosions always cease just as she arrived, and then start again as she turned to leave, she sought to relinquish them as products of my feverish imaginings. She gave me more medicine and left, but the voices would begin again just as I said they would. The voices weren’t loud in a way that hurt my ears, but resonated loudly inside my head and made it difficult to think. The syllabic shifts in pitch and tone sounded only like slight changes in the intensity of the blasts. Yet, the patterns and speed at which the explosions rattled off sounded undoubtedly like two beings in a discussion. With no hope of breaking through this language barrier, I prayed that I might at least attain the ability to decipher the voices. Gradually, the explosions lost their intensity, and I realized that they were actually whispers; my mind, in its feverish state, had been tuned to a hypersensitive frequency and was now acclimating. But before I could hear anything discernible in the whisperings, I sank into a deep sleep and did not wake until later in the next afternoon. Like the whispers, certain sensory details may become indiscernible if tuned into the incorrect frequency. To become too involved with any feeling would set about a frenzy of my mind and spirit that would ruin me if I dare let it consume me. Even attempting to explain it now instills such an anxiety in me that I can hardly hold my pen correctly as I scrawl these notes. And when I cannot decipher even my own notes, I question whether I can even trust myself at that point. I fear that I am no longer making sense. I will tackle this in the most pragmatic way, then, by referring to the notes that I have held most dear to me and know to be true, for I have written them on several notes that I keep tucked inside a secret pocket lining my backpack: that whatever she is–whatever it is–exists in several people or things at once. I do not believe that it necessarily is luring me in or even wants anything to do with me. In fact, I am certain that it is completely indifferent to me, because only victims of indifference and neglect can be affected by this hypnotic charm. But, because it is so apparent to me now, I must pursue it. When I first arrive, it is entirely unnoticeable. Only after I have settled, as the vibrations in the air acclimate, can I then disentangle the voices and finally find hers. It is never loud, but invasive and oppressive by a vast measurement whose unit cannot be calculated in this plane. It is entirely indifferent, so autonomous and unwavering in its own rhythm, that it becomes observable. I know so because when it leaves, the whole room–no matter how full it is–becomes hollow and two dimensional. When she is here, the air feels thick and gelatinous, like I am suspended in a vat of thick, breathable sludge. Of course, in this state, I feel too heavy and cumbersome. If I feel too confident, then I know she is no longer here. I used to gasp and drown in this muck, wishing so much for the weightless feeling to return until I realized that this complacency was essentially stagnation. Without her, the weight of living disappears. I am convinced that her tendrils extend far over the planet. They go in countless directions and manipulate vessels in a pattern too large for me to comprehend. But, trying to decipher this pattern is not the way to proceed. It might seem logical that following the tendrils to its source would lead me to the heart of her, but I know that this is a fruitless venture. The length and direction in which the tendrils spread is entirely aside from logic. It is a source that can only be felt and discovered through my own heart and wits. So, if I can capture her at any place, then I would perhaps then be able to “grab on” and be taken to the center–assuming too much, already, by believing there is a center. For all I know, the tendrils are many, unconnected, and stretching outward in a pattern or shape that defies humans logic. It seems that, as I write this, she is no longer here. For now, I will retreat rather than stay here. But don’t misinterpret me. It’s not that I was trying to engineer fate. I was only trying to remain in the presence of possibilities as much as i could. As I have stated before, I do not believe in tampering with the schemes of the universe. However, it was necessary for me to stay within the vicinity of her presence. After all, ducking out of life and trying to live in solitude would only guarantee exposure to life changing events: the inevitable ones, like death and misfortune, and the occurrences in life that lead you closer to those things. And, as I am not dealing with some force of the inanimate universe, but another living entity within it–and one that is unaware of my existence–I would have to throw myself headlong into its vicinity in the hopes of one day getting in its path. At first, I lived my life in a typical fashion, doing what I could to remain content while chasing a few goals. But as I began to realize the truth here at hand, I began finding more ways to “put myself out there,” so to speak, to ensure that I might reduce probability and put my fate directly in her line of sight. Fate is like a bullet shot out of a gun. The bullet will eventually hit something (that people have misattributed as fate). You are not capable of aiming the gun before the bullet is fired, and the bullet begins travelling immediately. Nor can you change the target of the bullet–through conventional means. The only way for that to happen would be to shift the world around the bullet. And so, I decided that living the way I currently did was to accept the path of the bullet–to let it strike where it may, all the while believing that I was in control of the bullet’s path. When you believe you are influencing the path, your life gradually shifts along with you and your decisions. But in order to bend the world around the bullet, you must make sudden and drastic changes to your physical and social environments. So with this in mind, I relinquished my way of life in order to shape the world around the bullet. As she continued to make her grand schemes throughout the universe, I, as a speck of dust, bobbed and weaved through it in order to become entwined in her path, hoping that my bullet may strike any one of her appendages. And then, lodged in her wound, I might then be able to trace my way through the blood and discover the heart.