The face is a vague blob on a light blue background. The words appear in a white box with a triangle sticking out of its left side.
“I’m just a very morbid depressed sheep,” he says, “don’t mind me.”
I welcome him to the flock. We’re all depressed and thinking morbid thoughts here.
He doesn’t take it. “I’m quite lost. Lost, and very lonely.”
That’s how this flock works, though. We each feel lost in our tiny self-made cocoons. We think we’re lonely but in reality we graze together…
“In any case, I met a cat.”
My questions fall on deaf ears.
“I met a cat while I was lost and I was very happy for a while.”
“But it seems she’s moved on. Maybe I have too. I don’t know. I’m still lost and lonely. Possibly more than before. Oh, and depressed, too.”
In this flock, we’re all like that.
“And I need to move on now. Don’t mind me.”
I don’t want to move yet. Life in the flock is monotonous – I’m bored. I need the white boxes to keep coming. Cats have never brought me happiness before, and it’s interesting, hearing this story. Please continue. He’s probably one of the luckier sheep here, to have met that cat, and I voice this opinion.
“It was a chance meeting. You could call that lucky, I suppose, but don’t read too much into it. Maybe I moved on before she did… or I gave up. Yeah. I gave up before she did and she’s gone now, that cat. In any case, what are you up to? Have you met anything interesting on your journey?”
I tell him I haven’t. No meetings with cats, at least. My heart is too full of pixels, stuffed to the brim so that cats don’t have room to go in and mess everything up.
“But you shouldn’t stuff your heart with pixels. It’s not healthy.”
But pixels don’t hurt and cats do. I’m filling up with pixels on another side of myself right now, as a matter of fact. Multitasking is a useful skill and pixels are friendly, in a passive sort of way. They don’t feel and they don’t react but they can’t do anything to you either.
“Pixels don’t hurt, that’s true. But they don’t last either.”
That’s why I refill them regularly. You can always find new pixels. They’ll still be harmless and they can still do the job just as well as the old ones.
“Personally, I wouldn’t want to have to keep filling my heart up with something so unresponsive and short-lived. It’s too much change.”
I ask whether the cats last.
“Ok, I’ll admit it. They don’t. But the memories of them do.”
But the memories only make you feel emptier inside.
“Cats are real. I don’t want pixels. I want real things. Real cats.”
But they hurt. When you try and approach a cat it stalks off and ignores you. When a cat faces difficulties it doesn’t show its feelings. Cats hide things and trick sheep.
That, I tell him, is why you need the pixels. So that cats can’t do things like that; they won’t have the room.
“I told you, it was a chance meeting. Cats just find their way inside and you can’t choose to block them out. It doesn’t work like that. You can’t decide to give a cat less room simply because doing otherwise will hurt.”
With some careful measurements of pixel quantity perhaps you could. You could make it so that you give the cat some room, but you don’t get attached to her. Because she’ll move on.
“Did you once meet a cat that moved on?”
I did, I did. I met a cat and she moved on so quickly, I didn’t even get a chance to be happy. But that’s not the point.
“You got attached to that cat, didn’t you? See, it’s not a matter of choice. There’s no way to stop yourself from getting attached.”
You can use pixels. In extreme cases, you can… metamorphose. You can become a turtle, one with lots of pixels in its shell, and stay there for a while. The flock won’t notice or mind.
“I’d rather be hurt than live on pixels. I’d rather be able to love. Real cats.”
Perhaps someday. It is a lonely life here after all, whether in the flock or in a shell…
“But don’t mind me. I need to move on.”