There was this lady, a few years ago, and she broke her leg. It was all over the news. Things hadn’t been going her way, not for a while. She’d lost her job. Lost her friends. Lost her sense of purpose, I suppose, and then she broke her leg. She came home from the hospital and sat on the couch, and just…never got up again.

She grew into the couch, in the end. Or she got bedsores, and the bedsores got infected, and scabs formed and reformed and peeled away, and her new skin grew into the fabric. That’s how they found her, all dying and stuck.

They tried to save her, of course. They broke down the wall and carried her out, but they couldn’t detach her, and the infection did the rest.

I still think about that lady. It wouldn’t be hard to end up like her—maybe not attached to a sofa, but there’s more than one way to give up. She stopped moving. Someone else might stop eating, stop working, stop socialising. I’ve stopped going out.

I’m exaggerating a little. I poke out here and there, maybe once a month. I do this reluctant turtle thing, head out, swing the neck, don’t like this, head back in.

I have a rough spot on my back where my chair rubs my spine. I work eight hours a day, eight hours in that chair, and it’s giving me a rough spot. Is that how bedsores start? I don’t suppose I could grow into a plastic chair, but still. There’s a spot. I feel it when I’m showering, when I’m soaping my back, and I think about all the ways I’ve pulled back from the world.

I don’t go outside.

I don’t talk to people unless they talk to me first.

I’m not as ambitious as I used to be. I keep saying I’ll write a proper book—y’know, one under my own name—but I’m too tired. No, I’m too lazy. I finish work for the day, and I lie down and read. Every time.

I play a game with myself in the mornings, where I won’t get out of bed till a car goes by that isn’t red, white, black, or grey. Sometimes, that buys me an extra twenty minutes. (I used to bounce out of bed.)

I don’t cook. I get plates from the deli and pick at them all day, a pickle, a bit of celery, a slice of roast beef. A devilled egg with caviar and white truffle shavings. I don’t even like caviar, but it’s part of the dish. They put eggs on more eggs. That’s too many eggs.

I could make my own eggs, if I don’t want the caviar.

I don’t like making eggs.

How many stages of giving up are there between holing up indoors and sitting down forever?

(Probably not as many as you’d think.)

So, I…ah. I’ve nothing to do out there, but I suppose I could go down a while. Or, y’know, replace my couch with a chaise longue. One of those Le Corbusier jobs, all metal and leather—you couldn’t grow into that.

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