I used to think you couldn't be lost if you were in a crowd. I used to think that I was just trapped at the back with the rabble, the in-betweens, the not-quite-there-yet’s. That there was someone at the front, that we may have looked like a shoal of fish if you were to soar above us, but really we were tumbling over each other in fragmented formation. I used to think that we had all gathered there, here, together, because one of us knew what we were doing. In the way Odysseus was chosen by the gods or kings and queens ordained.
And then one day I noticed that we'd walked past this spot before, that we had passed this house, but this time it was more decrepit. Falling into disrepair – its net curtains soiled with grand statements, plaster peeling from the walls and the beginnings of a red X across the door. It's fine, I rallied those around me, there are always casualties when in search of the greater good. So we went on, stopping occasionally on street corners to drink beer out of paper bags, to make the next street corner look better. Breaking rank for a moment and it felt strange and wrong and liberating and it fermented in our stomachs and made us sick so we rejoined the masses.
Someone suggested, from behind their hands, that since we had been running in circles for a while, we should send word ahead to ask what was happening. But they were clubbed, they don’t have time for questions and we don’t have the capacity for answers, and we left them in the road and moved on. They were faceless and we grew faithless.
But soon I began to see those who I thought were leading us, coming up behind us. We were going round in circles, and had begun to eat ourselves like a giant snake. We were the consumer and the consumed. We were being eaten one by one, by those in front who had now raced behind.
We began to run. To flee those who lead us. We ran past more and more broken houses, broken families, broken promises. We ran on empty and we still kept going, unable to stop for fear of being trampled.