At any one moment, somebody is standing alone at a bus stop, ferry terminal or train station, silently panicking. They are terrified that they’ve slipped into a world between worlds, that the bus or ferry or train is not, nor will it ever be, coming for them, and they shall remain trapped here until the end of time.
The first bust lost its nose and had another nose affixed to it.
Or, rather, the nose of a second bust lost its face and so was affixed to the face of the first bust.
Therefore there is both a nose without its face and a face without its nose somewhere in the world, and no matter how much each piece longs for it, they will never again be reunited.
Additionally, there is a nose and a face that will be wedded together for all of time, whether they like it or not.
He tried to remind himself that the process of ageing wasn’t a disease, it wasn’t a contagion— it could not be caught.
And when he couldn’t do this, he tried to think of it as a disease that he had already caught. But it occurred to him that this made ageing a disease which was advancing on him at every second of every day.
Then he tried to tell himself ageing was a disease that everyone had caught. But instead of a feeling of camaraderie, he was faced with a feeling of inevitability, like when you’re driving on a country road and a deer jumps out and you know you’re going to hit it.
So he told himself ageing was a thing like hair growth, it just happened slowly over time and, like with hair, you should treat it all gently. And so he took extra good care of his hair, and was calmed.
The bed required three cushions.
Was flanked by two tables, but this was okay,
because together they made three pieces of furniture.
There were only two windows. So she hung a painting on the wall.
This left one wall bare, but one was better than two,
though not as good as three.
(Don’t even get her started on four.)
She had three cats. Two slept on the bed, one preferred the couch.
This was not ideal, but no matter how many times she moved the cat
…he always moved back.
Her husband was one man. (Not three.) This was also not ideal,
for she liked to make love three times in a row
and her husband had to draw the line somewhere.
At night, she would shower for three minutes,
take three sips of water and lay in bed smiling and dreaming
of triangles, tripod fish and triple goddesses.
She scooped her slight belly, hoping for triplets
and praying she wouldn’t