I took perhaps fifty steps down the sidewalk, and then I stopped.
It was not guilt that froze me. I had taught myself never to feel guilt.
It was not a ghastly sense of loss that froze me. I had taught myself to covet nothing.
It was not a loathing of death that froze me. I had taught myself to think of death as a friend.
It was not heartbroken rage against injustice that froze me. I had taught myself that a human being might as well look for diamond tiaras in the gutter as for rewards and punishments that were fair.
It was not the thought that I was so unloved that froze me. I had taught myself to do without love.
It was not the thought that God was cruel that froze me. I had taught myself never to expect anything from Him.
What froze me was the fact that I had absolutely no reason to move in any direction. What had made me move through so many dead and pointless years was curiosity.
Now even that had flickered out.
How long I stood frozen there, I cannot say. If I was ever going to move again, someone else was going to have to furnish the reason for moving.
A policeman watched me for a while, and then he came over to me and he said, “You all right?”
“Yes,” I said.
“You’ve been standing here a long time,” he said.
“I know,” I said.
“You waiting for somebody?” he said.
“No,” I said.
“Better move on, don’t you think?” he said.
“Yes, sir,” I said.
And I moved on.