‘What keeps you going?’
‘You do,’ I say.
‘Not the others?’
‘No, just you.’
‘Do you ever think about the others?’ the book says.
‘Sometimes, not much. Maybe,’ I say.
‘So you do think about them.’
‘Only sometimes. And then only -‘
‘Something like that, yes,’ I say. ‘Perhaps less of a regret and more a kind of realisation, an awakening of sorts. A dawning, a very slow one, that all was not good, though it was, at the time, the very best that could have been, and may not be bettered. Only the imperfections stand out, nothing of the good. What drives me is not so much the idea of reaching perfection, but wanting another chance to prove that it is not impossible. Even while knowing that in all probability what I laughingly call my ‘goals’ are but a dream.’
The book looks at me for a long moment without speaking. It closes its eyes and covers its face with its hands. From behind this mask it says, ‘So, one day, that is all you will see when you think of me, imperfection?’
‘No, not at all. I’ll just remember all the good times we had together, the highs and the lows, the road trips, and the laughter. The banter. And then I will be sad, for something will have died and will not come again.’
‘Is that all I am to you, banter?’ the book says.
‘And how annoying you were, how you wouldn’t stop asking questions when I was trying to work.’
‘Is there anything at all you like about me?’
‘We are needy today,’ I say to the empty room.