I had trusted Reason. Turned out there isn’t anybody by that name, and yet everyone else seems to know him. I swear I had all his contacts right here — his phone number on the directory, his address, his photograph, everything, before I set out for him. They told me to go to the End of Ways where he lives. They told me I needn’t call ahead because Reason would know I’d be coming; that was his job. And yet when I reached, I found his place empty and dark. I looked everywhere, but couldn’t find him. And then I discovered that the End of Ways was not the end of ways at all. It was a blind alley leading up to a wall, and I knew there was another alley on the other side of it. End of Ways was just a wall between two alleys.

So I came back home and told them about it. They refused to believe me, saying they had found out about End of Ways long ago, had been there and that it really was the end of ways. They told me that I had just lost my way. I refused to believe that. And then I came home, and found that all his contacts were gone. There was a blank space on the telephone directory where his number was, his address was a blank piece of paper, and his photo had turned into the picture of an optical illusion I had once known as a kid. It was those three pillars. Each of them had three distinct feet planted on the ground, but if you followed the middle column upward, it sort of disappeared and the three pillars ended in a solid rectangular bend. I searched my mind, and nothing but his name came up. I’ve forgotten his phone number, his address, and what he looked like, although in the past I had all of these by the heart. I’ve almost forgotten that there was such a person called Reason, except that I catch his name being spoken out loud in the street, at work, on the underground train by people who still know him very well. And I feel a vague association with the name, but nothing more. I haven’t forgotten him, because he isn’t a memory. I’ve just stopped believing that he ever was. He has suddenly vanished from my life altogether.

And sometimes, when I’m awake late at night, I think of him, and wish him back. Because he was a father, a protector, a tall unwavering assurance of order and purpose. And then he slips into my dreams and I see his home, the End of Ways, and I see that there’s nothing beyond the end, that the wall is only an end and not a beginning of something else. And I see him smiling at me, and he says ‘I’m right here.’

And I smile too and dwell in the utopia of his purpose and control till I wake the next day.


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