Will I see you again? he wanted to ask. But he was afraid of ruining everything.

He left the circle, and after waiting a long time caught a bus on the road back into the city proper. Whatever I do now, he said to himself on the bus, staring out the window at the volcano in the distance, I cannot do for her. I cannot assume she’ll be mine. I must act on the assumption she’ll never be mine, that it will never be less impossible than it all seems at this moment. I must act on the assumption that I’ll never see her again, except for a passing moment in the street or the Market, and that love has been left hanging in the black space of a small room, and in the light, with a husband and a child, she’ll feel very different tomorrow., if she doesn’t already. Therefore, what I do now ultimately has nothing to do with her. It has to do with the life I’ve been living. It has to do with the man I’ve been and who I am now, without her, and what my life is now, without her.

He went home and left his wife.

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