By January I’m thinking the space between us too enormous to traverse, a wilderness with nothing at the center, not so much as a handful of fig trees. There is no point in coming up with a name because the name too would be swallowed up, would disappear forever on the blank synapse and the collapsed brick wall. But who can help himself when faced with something that needs to be referred to? Needs to be distinguished from others of its kind? I become convinced Eulalie has set out in the direction from which we originally came, and as soon as I can figure out which direction that is, as soon as I can find my bearings amid the overgrowth and the obelisks and the vines, I’ll follow suit. In the meantime, I have recklessly at the steel drum, I run my hands through torn netting in hopes of finding bits of real silver among the minnow scales and the trailing strands of algae. The others get drunk in the shadows of the corral. They tell stories of their sexual prowess and the sexual prowess of the peculiar, five-legged forest sprites said to inhabit this corner of the world by people who don’t really believe what they’re saying. They still get their hair cut by professionals. They still listen to the radio with something like awe as if it had been invented by extraterrestrials or those saints depicted as travelling from one place to another on the back of a mule. When you ask them a direct question, they look away, but you see immediately what they are looking at. The sun. And if you attempt to hold your gaze there the way they do, the way they are known the world over for, even being singled out by a Scandinavian publication of some repute for a feature article written by a man who otherwise spent his days entirely in basement establishments downing absinthe, the pain will become so intense you will have no choice but to look away. And the moment you do, the moment you turn your eyes away from that which is destroying them, is melting them from without, you are overcome with remorse. With a palpable longing to gaze at that merciless fiery object again. But you know to do so would be tantamount to admitting you have committed a crime. And not just any crime, but one in the category of crimes against humanity because you will have committed it against yourself. And you are human. You will have treated yourself (and, by extension, everyone else, especially those who have never heard of you, who couldn’t even conceive of your having been born and having grown up among ordinary wicker furniture and clocks on the walls with Roman numerals on them) as a mere object to overcome, as that which stands between you and a bloodless apotheosis in light.