Substitute

It is easier, sometimes, to do that which you would rather not do, when confronted with something you want to do which is difficult, or which, for one reason or another, intimidates you. The difficulty doesn’t even really matter, in the end. It’s the intimidation. The fear of doing that thing, or of not being able to do it, even after you try — or of what comes about as a result of that thing you wanted, should you surprise yourself by achieving it.

Garret lets this rule him far too often. He is afraid of the things he wants to do, and so he does things he doesn’t prefer. He reads books he doesn’t really enjoy, because they’re fast and simple. He spends time reading worthless garbage on the internet, because it’s easier to find and absorb than anything that would actually be educational. He hangs out with friends that he doesn’t even really like, because he’s afraid of the loneliness that comes with trying to find new ones.

He, to his great chagrin, spends no time pursuing Elda, even though he wants to know what it’s like to know her. He sees her only from a distance, smiling and happy and with only the same vague idea of who he is that he has of her. It’s like there’s a river between them, and he’s not sure if he knows how to swim, and he’s afraid that if even if he does know how, and he tries, he’ll drown anyway.

Garret goes on dates with other people instead. He went on three dates with Maggie, though she bored him terribly. He went on two with Hideo, though they had no interests in common. He dated Caramel for three months, and couldn’t count how many dates they went on, in that time, even though he never felt anything for her in particular. He just found himself thinking about Elda instead.

He thinks she’s interested in him. She smiles at him, when they pass in the hallway. She’s even waved at him a few times. She knows his name. He might, if he could bring himself to try, find a connection between them. But bridging the gap feels too hard, even though all of his analysis says: it’s not.

So Garret waits, and hopes that something happens between the two of them, but he does nothing at all to bring it about himself. He would rather hope and wish and pray. It’s all easier than action. It’s a simple substitute for action, and for now, that’s all he can drive himself to accomplish.

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