An attempt at what others around him have called wisdom, not really knowing, he would think, what they were saying, simply using a word they had heard bandied about by others of the undergraduates who would have congregated in the English Major’s Lounge when most of them were still very young, except myself, I say, who had returned to college to complete a degree in English Literature for a reason I have subsequently lost any connection to, a connection I currently suspect I had held with what I would not have admitted then was a kind of desperation, the kind of desperation that people who are not desperate can have, hold, maintain quietly underneath layers of veneer that accumulate day in and day in again; the out being reserved for the final syllable of my record . . .
“Impermanence,” he said. Then he said nothing more.
After the long pause that others had endured expecting something else to be said, someone said, “Let’s get coffee in the cafeteria.”
Another long pause.
Each of the several of them attendant in the English Major’s Lounge gathered belongings, some some, some all. Everyone left the room for the basement of the building that housed the English Department to attend the cafeteria where they were to all of them get a presumptive coffee.
He then followed after everyone had left the room. He tailed behind. He took the stairs as everyone had decided to enter the elevator that had opened at the place where one would descend the stairs if one wanted to walk. He wanted to walk. He always walked up and down the stairs, never taking the elevator. His way to keep fit he had once said to someone now he forgets whom as he thinks of this on his way to the basement and the cafeteria.
There is nothing more to say. This is all there is to say, has been all there was to say. There was no intention to say more than has been said. In fact, the intention was not to say as much as has been said.
Impermanence was all that he had said, and the ensuing after that will have herein been said about this is everything.
What else you could imagine being said, by either himself or by the narrator, who you have by now suspected is me, this me as is said from the point of speech directed at you from these words you are reading . . . is this who is speaking to you as we say traditionally, conventionally, the same person who said “Impermanence?”
You have now been asked. You have now the obligation to provide an answer or a response–so then it now becomes your responsibility, literally, to complete this. I, or whoever the narrator is, am not going to . . . is not going to . . . require you to notify anyone of what you have concluded–every conclusion a conclusion a walling up or in or whatever else you might choose, should choose, if you are inclined to think in matters of should and should not. I am and I am not; but who you are here is more up to you than my knowing my audience could allow to manifest itself as results in the world.
[A SHORT STORY]