The Wist

There’s a chill. In the air, down my spine, and definitely in my coffee. I’m tense. Muscles taught, ears pricked, eyes sharp; a predatory squint. I’m sitting on the 9th floor in the heart of downtown Seattle, and I’m waiting. I’m waiting for a call to action that I’ve told myself will never come.

But the Wist wont listen.

It’s been convinced all my life that some grand adventure, some catastrophe (same thing in its opinion) is right about to spring up, or open up, right under my feet. It pushes, pulls — almost begs, except that it never begs, it only drives me on. There’s too much to discover, too much to do, to be sitting where I am.

“Look! Look at the fog! There, just beyond the industrial docks, past the bridges, where the concrete gives way to salt water and forest, what’s beyond it, IN it?

We have to find out.” It whispers.

“Go!” It urges a moment later.

“I don’t have a car anymore.” I argue, ignoring the more obvious fact that I can’t just step out of work early. Certainly, “I need to go play in the fog.” would not be a acceptable excuse.

“So walk.”

I sigh, taking a habitual sip of my coffee only to screw up my face, scowling at the cold bitterness. “Matches my mood.” I think in an effluent burst of self pity.

It’s the Wist’s turn to sigh.

The overhead lights turn on to combat the early setting of the winter sun. The Wisp gets quieter. I wander off to nuke the half cup of coffee, musing on Verts, Tris, Normal Maps and how I should crack down and hammer out the female model so I can move onto the male character. I’m a 3D Character Artist in the Game Industry, but this is not where my mind is.

The Wist is still plucking at the edge of my consciousness, long fingers tickling my lust for action.

“We’ve gotta eat.” I remind it.

“We?”

“..and sleep and be warm and safe.” I continue, comforting myself that the path I’m on is a sensible one.

My mind becomes a jumble as I try to tick off all the various bills against my paycheck that arrived yesterday, 43 dollars left, if I budget 150 for food until the next paycheck. Tight, but better off than I’ve been for nearly 7 years. Not a peep from the Wist, it withdraws almost entirely. “No one likes bills.” I mutter with a smirk. Inside, I’m having a one-man coffee house discourse about the intangibility of our systems and how they shackle us in a meaningless yet unnervingly powerful loop. I push the impotent intellectualism out of my brain.

Settling back down at my desk, I indulge in creature comforts. A unassuming black scarf shakes out into a larger bolt of cashmere to wrap up in, warming arms and sore shoulders while a few sips of cheap, but hot coffee warm from within. I cradle the mug, watching the wan wintery light give way to a rush of gold and red as the sun starts to slip away. The Wist flutters out from whatever dark recess it was perched in, delighting in the reflections off the water, glass buildings and cargo ships.

We sit there, happily co-existing, as the color flares, morphs, and finally fades. We sigh in unison, content. Lights blink on all over the city. The Wist wants to go see those too, but it doesn’t prod.

“I need to get contacts before my insurance resets this year.” The Wist actually agrees.