Op Note XII
He came to me lonesome and broken-hearted. He didn’t give any background history. Look at me doc, he said. Sallow, sunken-eyed, grayed like a forest shadow. I first offered to excise his bad memories. But he demanded more precision than I could promise. There were parts he didn’t want to lose. I could make it so that everything hurt. Flood his mind with so much distracting suffering he’d forget. That won’t work either, doc, he said. I can feel my loss in the tips of my toes. Everything agonizes. The one thing above all. I thought some more, ran some tests, analyzed the data. Ultimately devised a method for filling human emptiness. Tears, hair, clotted blood, the flesh under your nails. But you don’t understand, he cried. You can’t put that there. The fullness you offer is only your own. I'm only an apparition. I'll find what belongs inside me. Why did you come here then, I asked him. He looked out the window. It may have been raining and he seemed to be dissolving into sheets of gray mist. Doc, just tell me one thing. If I ever find it again, will there be enough room? Will it still fit? Just tell me that. Promise me that.