(Response to Maulik Thakkar)
Joseph Edwin

You are most kind to write to let me know that you feel something similar to how I sometimes can imagine feeling. There are moments when I feel lighter, when this person tried to make up for not apologising in person yesterday by breaking a self-imposed vow of silence during class presentations to ask a question of me that conveyed something resembling genuine interest. Proceeding to stand next to where I was sitting when addressing a small audience and extending a warm dialogue goes a long way in convincing me that they were trying to demonstrate some remorse for the effects of their actions, at some far-flung location in my imagination — along with the tentatively uncertain ‘cheers’ that was directed towards me to express gratitude for my help with setting up the projector equipment. These facets integral components of the fiction within all of our lives, without which our existence would doubtless be duller.

No matter how belatedly, there is much merit in reliving an experience that demonstrates that to be male is to aspire for empathy, compassion and a willingness to get things wrong — along similar lines to what it means to be human. There are things that I have stumbled over and stuttered through (as can be seen in ‘A Smouldering Gaze’ and ‘What were you chuckling about’) during the course of the past several months, which adds to the delicious yet hurtful experience of yearning and pining for someone whom I hardly know. With my kind of relationship with Fortuna, everything I describe may just exist in my head, as can be seen in ‘You were being a dick on Wednesday afternoon’. I recommend you reading the Imagining Him series of short stories if you’d like to see vulnerability laid bare in a more pronounced form of exposure, and my other pieces of non-fiction if you’d prefer to see how a person’s roots can be intangible.