He was wearing a Corduroy jacket when I first saw him. With an enormous Greek mythology book in one hand and a coffee cup in the other, he was trying to exit the coffee shop. A little too tall to fit through the cramped door frame, it was a struggle I remember was enjoying watching. Though my sadistic adventure didn’t last long that day, when a woman hurriedly opened the door to get inside, ready for that morning boost, freeing him from the struggle and my intrigued gaze.
It was a hot summer day outside in the game that day, it of course didn’t affect the characters in the simulation, only I could feel the sweltering heat and humidity in the air. I’d gotten used to it at this point, used to the smell of sweat and ground coffee beans in the air. I had survived quite a while in the simulation by then, nothing fazed me and I’d accepted my fate of dying of old age, after the first year itself. Nothing worthwhile had happened since then. Until that very day.
I had decided to get some fresh air after the man left, maybe it was the overpowering smell of coffee that urged me or just plain boredom, I can’t remember. But the one thing that I do remember happening was: the glitch. As I had walked through the cobbled road towards downtown, I had noticed the man again, carrying even more books than before, however this time he glitched. Like a ghost from the outer realm, I saw him disappear and come back right in front of me. No one from inside the simulation can glitch, it’s impossible for internal signals to be lost, outer beings however like me, glitch all the time. It used to scare me in the beginning, now it just feels like a long eye blink to me, lasting longer than necessary.
The man however did get slightly startled, enough for me to know he wasn’t from here. The sight of sweat on his face and the irritating way he looked up at the sun, gave it away. He was the one I was after all this time. I was meant to kill him.
I’m reminded of that moment when I see him now, getting that same coffee today for me. The killing didn’t happen, what did occur were long walks, coffee shops and libraries. I read and felt alive for once, not trapped inside my own mind. I had approached him talking about glitches and instead my own life got turned upside down.
The memories are starting to come back now, there was no glitch, there was no game, it was just me and my hallucinations, as he calls them. I still don’t believe it, but the therapist says it’s true, I was so depressed I had imagined a whole world for my own self. One where only I was human. Turns out, it was a coping mechanism to mask the pain.
He got through it somehow, made my own mind glitch. Maybe it was meant to be.