Art Pact 32


We've got to run now, we know that. We have to go, but we keep staying because there's no incentive right now, right now this second to get up, get out of the cupboard, and get running. When we came in here we knew that it was for a short time only, that there was really no reason even for us to be here, but the fact is that the cupboard was there, the cupboard was a payoff that we got immediately at a cost that we'd only have to pay in the future. We knew at the time that the future us-es would be here sooner than we knew, but we hid in the cupboard anyway.

Now the future us-es are here. They're coming at us at a rate of knots, but no matter how fast they come, they can't dislodge us until they get here. So we sit in the cupboard and we fiddle with things, putting off moving by excusing ourselves to take care of "vital" tasks. The tasks are so vital, we tell ourselves, that we literally cannot set foot outside the cupboard until they're complete. For instance - my shoelaces are untied, and every time I try to tie them up I get the shakes so bad that the laces get worse and worse. Like in a dream, where you can't do something although you want to, you're putting all your effort into it. It's the same with Tilly and her coat, she keeps trying to do it up so that it's tucked in, but each time she does she ends up with one stray button at the neck end and one stray button-hole at the hem, and then of course she can't help but undo it all again, pull the back of the coat out from where it's tucked into the belt of her waistband, and try again. And again.

What we know of ourselves (that we have to run, and soon), we somehow manage to blame on others. If only Tilly hadn't tried to bring this ridiculous coat with her, or if only Oscar didn't insist on carrying his walking stick anywhere (we all know deep down that his leg really is as bad as it's always been, but we tell ourselves that he isn't fooling anyone, that we could just as easily act out a limp ourselves and expect all the special treatment that he gets). I'm sure that they're judging me for my laces, even though properly tied-up laces is a legitimate concern when you've got to run, and I'd like to see them tying up shoelaces in a nice neat knot with the shakes I've got, the bone-deep shakes that are so cold and violent it's like I'm being manipulated by marionette wires from on high. I'd like to see them do a double-hitch or try to remember which way round is the good knot and which way round is the granny knot and think about tripping over and watching their uncaring legs disappearing into the nice safe distance while I'm over-run by...

...and anyway, I wanted to buy Velcro trainers, the ones with the Velcro straps that just come open and closed perfectly in an instant, but Oscar said that a man of my age should really be able to tie laces without thinking anyway, and when we were in the shop Tilly said come on, what are we living in the eighties? Are you going to be jogging in those trainers or popping-and-locking in them? So I didn't get the Velcro trainers and now I know how important it is to listen to your - I guess to your heart, and not let yourself be swayed by the opinions of people whose taste in clothing is so ill-informed that they have to tuck up their coat into their waistband in order not to trip over it and get dissolved by...

..but yes, those future us-es are running at us now, just like we should be running, but we're doing our best to ignore the fact that they're coming. I'm sure that with one more twist of the fingers I'll have this knot tied, and Oscar has finished putting the rubber stop back on the end of his walking stick, but he just has to test it one more time, just - he has to make sure that there's no chance that it will come off, because if he's put it on wrong it could be disastrous for him. So he takes it off so that he can put it back on again and be sure this time, and at that point the future us-es slam into outside of the cupboard door like a million gallons of...

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