It begins as a little urge, he remembers as he pours himself a drink. “An urge to merge,” he chuckles. And half of a paradox, too, for at the same time there was another, as irrational, urge. But that one was to separate, to become an individual. Cruelly, life has you having the desire for coupling and comradery pushing you hard in an entirely different direction from the as forceful shoving of the need to individuate.

That kinda explains, he considers distractedly, the odd fact that the usual path for the recently individuated “adult” who has just extracted his or herself from the bonds of one nuclear family, goes and makes another to bind to. He’s not surprised that adulthood was not as advertised, and that it didn’t work out well for him. Gazing at his empty glass he sighs and reflects; yes, seeds were sown, but what bloomed was more a market than a home. “A bazaar, a bizarre bazaar,” he acknowledges under his breath as he pours another glass, spilling some in the process. Poetry in a bottle.

He sorta remembers seeing it all, hazily through self-made and socially concocted deceptions, as creative and full of potential. But later, still—though less—deceived, he saw it as just a commercial arrangement not going well and best ended soon. “It was always quid pro quo!” he declared shortly after the final act, as if that were news. “Tit for that!” he puns, wisely setting down his drink, before he congratulates himself with an ironic guffaw.

“For her, my work was no longer desirable, and she, for better more than worse, moved on to pursue and acquire shinier objects nearby…” he recalls, to no one in particular decades after the last sale. “Was my work ever desirable, for anyone?” he philosophizes as a sober aside. Then lifting the metaphor, not a glass, he continues, “…and I closed up that shop for good! Forever?”