He could not blame a vivid imagination that he saw all possibilities and myriad outcomes of action or inaction. Nor was he afraid to choose. He would give anything to stride down the street, one foot in front of the other, progressing toward all the things any man would want. If he could just decide which direction to go. Or find the correct pants or appropriate footwear, or divine which day of which week in which year to begin again, he could make a start.
Ever since Advanced Quantum Mechanics in the spring of his senior year, when he noticed the shy teaching assistant’s quiet notice as she sat behind the overhead projector, her profile limned in warm light, he straddled the chasm between being and not being. He watched her stroll the busy commons and leaned in to hear her hum to herself. When she read alone in the library, bit into a pear, or braided her hair beneath the cherry tree, blossoms falling around her like sweet smelling snow, he thought he understood in which direction his life would head.
When the pivotal moment came, after she smiled at him, he smiled back, and his heart leaped ahead to all the days and nights they would share, and she crossed to him against traffic, he learned that every moment held branches in an increasingly complex tree collapsing into chaos, and that while she remained suspended in her comatose state the more certain he was in love not with the irresistible feline, whose fate was yet undetermined, but with the steel box entombing the question of Shroedinger’s insufferable cat.