— Café? It’s more like a crack house. Think about it.
— I – we – spend, what? three to five dollars a day here.
— That’s not it. What do you pay, what do you sacrifice to be here,
in this city, in this neighbourhood? Admit it. The whole reason you
ever stayed was this place. What did that decision cost you? It’s
not even the rent so much as the lost opportunities, the flying back
and forth, the dithering. It all adds up. Huge. I can’t live here
any more. Not really. I can’t afford it. I shouldn’t even be here.
He took stock as directed. The really heavy losses had come first:
the career, the marriage, the sense of identity. Money,
certainly. Later there had been a stretch when he had lost bits and
pieces of himself: a broken toe, lost and rotting teeth. Lately it
had been the prosthetics of vision: broken eyeglasses, lost contacts,
a broken camera.
All painful (and therefore repressed) but still familiar. Only the
last string of items was worrisome. It was as if the city were taking
away his ability to see it for what it truly was.