And he’s on that train again. And time has passed, or he’s passed the time, but he can’t say how long, or how far, or if he’s gone forward or back. His watch still sticks at the same time. It won't move from it until he steps off the train. Then it finds the right time, on its own, without any winding.
And the voices have come to him again. And they’ve gone.
This train. He sits on this train. Steel rods are its bones, and a molded plastic dyed the color of tan flesh sits upon them. Jonas sits upon the pixelated blue felt that sits upon that molded plastic. And he fidgets. And he waits. He waits for the voices to return. They don’t come every trip, but most. And those sometimes, those sometimes when they don’t come, those very hard sometimes, it can be worse. The waiting.
He’s tried to distract himself through the waiting, with books and newspapers, crossword puzzles and magazines. He’s found that the insulation of sound piped through two small ear buds soothes him most. He doesn’t listen to music, as much as voices, other voices, any voices, just not their voices. Mostly clear voices. Voices he can hold onto. Voices that don't ask or tell him to do anything.
And within the seconds and fractions of seconds of silence that glue these broadcast voices’ words into sentences, those sentences into paragraphs, he knows theirs, as narrowly cast as any can be, will sneak through to him. It doesn’t matter how tightly he presses the ear buds into his canals, or how high he raises the volume, they’ll find a way in to him.
A crackle, and a hiss, a hum and a palpable silence, and then he hears them, but not clearly. No, what they say is not ever clear. It’s not as if they were in the same car, or train, or city. Their words must come from far away, and it’s as if they pass through a thick ooze, but when they reach him, he feels them pass into him, and settle as an ache in his bones.
Do you think he knows about circles?
He must, he seems quite fond of them.
And how they have no beginning or end?
Well, unless you break them.
Let’s break his with a riddle. Jonas, where we’re leading you, is not where you’ll be going.