He walked back a few steps. A few. A couple steps. 2 or 3 steps. Or 4. Maybe another step was in there. Several steps he backed away. He could have stepped forward a step or so as well. 8 or 11 steps back and 3 to 5 steps forward or 7 or 5 steps back and half a step forward. Hesitantly. Indecisively. Give or take a dance sequence. Hesitatingly.
The partition of neutrality was so short. The basement was partially painted and partially demolished. Both projects were left to intertwine unfinished together. A bare light bulb hung uncentered over the lack of resolution. He wondered when it would go out. Now? Now. Now? Not yet. Maybe now? Not quite yet. Deciding to let it be not the next moment or possibly not letting it be missed as it winked out. Winked. Out. Wink. Never going out until the middle of a step. Stumble in the dark. It would figure. How is that? Ridiculous question. The whole thing was ridiculously undetermined. Although it probably seemed to him that he was ahead or about to win or he had won or that he was justified or something. It would figure. Not him. Him. The other one. Not him.
Not him. Although he had thought he was ahead, but it didn't matter. He gave up caring. Gave up so significantly that he sensed the energy expended on the contest somewhere in his body. Leave. Up. Out. Stepping. Backing away those however many steps. Awful dance. Recessional? The partition of neutrality was so short. Barely three-dimensional. A poster. A print out to be crumpled and thrown away. Or just unused. Its neglect could not outweigh the awkwardness. Awkwardness written in mutual rejection of his and his returns. The weaponry of missed contact. His and his. It was him. Not him. The other him. The other one. Some of it was him. He said he dropped it, but more like threw it. That's what it was. For him. Not the other him. Tonight would darken with thoughts going up and down the stairs. Basement stairs. Trying to stay away. Back away. 3 or 8 steps back and a 3/4 of a step forward mostly committed to the cause. The just because. Thoughts slipping up and down the stairs. Only to retreat into the partially painted and partially demolished basement tomorrow.
- Max Stoltenberg