You see only what you want to see.

This is not delusion on your part — or not anymore. There was a time you blinded yourself to the harsher truths of your situation, when you turned away from the cliff’s edge, shuddering at the pluck-pluck of that seductive gravity, but no more. Now you are the heart of this city, its soul, an unwilling sun moving cynosure and confident through heliotropic commuters, all perfect, all friendly, and exactly as interested in you as you prefer. A meticulous 13% of people in the subway, for example, make eye contact, and a further 4% say hello or nod. Enough to feel noticed, not enough to feel watched.

The ads you pass are always interesting, if not always for products you are (quite) sure you want. They refer to shows you only but fondly remember, play jingles that are almost but not quite songs you like — enough to make you hum the actual song contentedly for an hour or two, not enough to overwrite it entirely. They remind you of things you have always meant to do, but haven’t actually done yet.

Exactly 37% of your questions are answered; another 22% is left for you to figure out after just enough thought to be enjoyably challenging. You are well-dressed and tasteful, a solid, complacent burgher, at peace and at home everywhere you go. You remember a time when you opened your eyes too wide — a time when questions poured through you caustically, and every street was seductive in its newness. You remember those streets, those days, but you cannot find them; they have disappeared into the unsettled wound of yesterday.