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The World Map

He had loved to travel once upon a time. Ever since he was a small child, the best part of the year wasn't his birthday or Christmas, but those trips with his parents, later with friends, and even alone. He had loved them, would sacrifice everything for a holiday hiking the mountains on the other side of the world, for a week visiting museums and sightseeing, for the thrill of discovering new things, for all those new vibrant colors and flavors. He enjoyed the beauty of new suns and familiar moons.

They gave him a map for his birthday, and it was his favorite present ever. It was big, and you could scratch away the ink of those places where you’ve already been. He taped pictures to the sides and scraped the paint with great care, uncovering the beautiful golden tint beneath. It wasn’t just a way of keeping track of those places he had seen, but a promise. He loved to plan the next trip.


Sometimes he sits in front of the map and wonders when? And why? The worst is always what? The pictures don’t feel like memories anymore – if they ever had (he can't recall). They feel like snippets of a movie he only half remembers.

The map once held promises. Now it is full of lies, and it makes him so very angry.


He doesn’t like to travel anymore. Doesn’t enjoy the planning or the adventure… Or rather… he still likes the new but can’t bear the after. The “how was it,” and the “did you enjoy it” from friends and family. Doesn’t like the pictures that mock him and the curiosity of his peers.

What he likes now is routine. Routine is comfortable; it’s normal for the days to blur and blend into one another when they’re all the same.


The wall in his living-room has a big square that’s paler than the rest, like it holds a blank picture where before there were colors. He doesn't likes to look at it, the tiny markings where the tape and needles left a vague imprint. It feels familiar.

He buys a black rectangle to cover the tiny holes and the whiteness. That’s even nicer to look at.

It looks like his mind now: a big black canvas, swallowing everything up and leaving nothing behind.

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