Updating… Updating… Updated Just Now.

Updating… Updating… Updated Two Minutes Ago.

Updating… Updating… Updated Just Now.


Sigh. Swipe. Sigh. The fare rate still sat at 1.1x, and I only possessed barely as much as I needed without that pesky surcharge. I tapped my foot erratically, awakening wisps of dust into the still night air.


It had happened again, of course. That is, I had become tangled in the talons of this city and the piercing grasp of people’s lives. I could not watch myself be whisked into their world only to be slopped upon the side of an eyrie amid the grapple of their ravenous beaks. It was a mistake I always made, which I could only treat but never seem to cure. I had begun my symptomatic fidgeting weeks ago, and the past couple of days had seen the onset of a thick wad of shame solidifying right upon my epiglottis. I could not breathe through it. I could not swallow it. I simply needed to hock it into this stairwell, into this street—or preferably—into this lifetime. I continued to smudge my clumsy fingers against the phone screen impatiently. I needed another hard reset.


The journey itself always made me feel so free. Such a relief it is to walk through the world knowing that it will never call my name, and that my heart will be no one’s but my own. A heart which currently skipped in time with the whir of the virtual loading symbol serving as my impromptu gatekeeper. It was a Friday, but it was getting late even for club-goers and cashed-up youths. The 1.1x fare adjustment would surely tick back down any minute now. Surely.


The more time passed, the more frenetic my frustration became. I swiped. I sighed. I swiped. I spasmed. I swiped. I rifled through my busted backpack, crumpled at feet perpetually calloused from an eternity of escapism. I checked what I had packed—cash, chlorpromazine, coffee loyalty cards that would never be completed. I checked again. I swiped. I sighed. I eventually began to trace the empty spaces of what I had left behind—licence, passport, photos of their faces.


Gone, all of it.


Updating… Updating…


And then, with a polite greeting and the churn of an engine, so was I.