Blew through what we’re calling “R.3” this morning. Now I’m trying to remember what was supposed to happen in “R.4.” Or whatever comes next really, I have a little block of boxes in my notebook, labeled R.1 -> R.10 with another set of numbers beside them, indicating their temporal position, and even that’s not quite accurate as the moments prior to “R.2” don’t happen until Section 2. Ah, the joy of non-linear story-telling. While I procrastinate some more, here’s a bit of the telephone booth conversation.

“Who are you, Harry, if you aren’t one of the sheep. If you aren’t part of the system, if you are outside, then how are you defined? Where are your edges? Where are your limits? What is the shape that defines you?”

The video screen goes black, and then flashes a single word: “EGO.”

I trace the curve of the last letter on my forearm, on the deep curve of my wrist. “I am a serpent.”

“You were a serpent, Harry. Once upon a time, like in the fairy tales, you were the snake, and you whispered in my ear.”

The booth is small and cramped, and I am sweating. The phone receiver is hot against my ear. There is no light outside, and my foot unconsciously strays to the hinge in the door. Pressing against the glass, my foot keeps the door closed, keeps the darkness out. “What did I tell you?” I ask.

“You told me the sound your heart makes, when it breaks. You told me the sound the world makes, when it breaks. You told me the sound my tongue makes, when it breaks.”

“And then what happened?”

“Nothing happened, Harry, because you were trying to change what had already happened. You were trying to change the–” path “–past.”

The break is like a lightning flash, a instantaneous flicker that sunders everything, that illuminates everything, that destroys everything; and then, the world is repaired, built once more from the ashes of the previous instant. Each moment is a possible permutation of the past, each moment is an unique iteration of a thousand million possible combinations of history. Even as I become conscious of the split, I am already filled with divergence, overflowing with the possible possibilities of what I heard, of what I know.

Of who I am to become.

I am. To be. Both the present and the future, coexisting in a quantum flux of ego. Am I the kitten in the box, waiting for someone to look in and witness my evolution from “am” into “to be?”

I wait, perched on the edge of the seat, my eyes blinded by the flash of light, by the radiant split of the word hidden within her words. She sighs, and it is the sound of a leaf falling.

On the video screen, the word swells and bursts, transforming into a pixelated image of a tree. Born from a single seed, this tree has grown for all eternity, and its roots push against Hell and its branches hold up Heaven. Its leaves are black.

Outside the phone booth, it begins to snow. Particles of light drifting through infinite space. It begins.