the R train runs shuttle late at night. it connects upper brooklyn with lower brooklyn. as i stood waiting at the station, it announced its arrival by a rumbling in the rails and a distant squealing of brakes. the doors opened, and i got in. there was the usual warning to "stand clear of the closing doors please". A ding-dong sound announced that the doors were closing- a sound that, if you happen to be running down the stairs to catch the train, sounds a lot like fate saying "f**k-you".
The car was empty except for an old homeless man who kept giving me knowing glances. As he got off at the next station he said, "I know you saw him. Know that you are miserable because you want to find out what this is all about". I got off the station, and crunched back through the packed two day old snow, contemplative, worried when the cellphone rang, and I picked it up.
A musical "Hi" greeted me.
"So, I hear you met someone in the subway.."
"Who are you? How do you know who I met?"
"Lets just say i represent *him* - a guardian angel, if you may"
"Never knew such things existed."
"Now you do."
"He told you about his plans, did he not? Told you that your path could only lead to him. Such a fool."
"He has a point, you know.."
She laughed. It sounded like the tinkling of little bells.
"I expected you to be smarter than that. that outline is not exactly lucid."
"In what way?"
"Curiosity is not opposed to fear. Curiosity arises from consequence, the consequence of not knowing, not finding meaning. Curiosity is the fear of this consequence. He is mistaken. That is why, around here, we are not worried"
"I think i see your point."
As I walked along the street towards the place I call home, I saw the joyously lit christmas trees in the houses of my neighbours, and the flashing "Merry Christmases" and the "Happy new years" in their windows. They served to somewhat brighten up the gloom.
But I had an objection.
"That still does not address his point. He is convinced that the curious mind in quest for meaning will be led to the conclusion that there is no meaning, and all consequence is arbitrary. And if all consequence is arbitrary, including the consequence of not finding purpose, then surely there is nothing to fear. And as per the contract you folks have with him, that leads me to him."
As i said this, I turned the key in my lock and entered my gloomy apartment. I dumped my bag in a corner, tore off my winter layers and got into my bedclothes as she continued..
"Ah, that is an argument he always makes. But first let me tell you what the two basic feelings are. Everything else is explained as a reaction to these. They are physical pain and meaninglessness. Man is in every way equipped to avoid the former, but the second one is harder to deal with. Not all hope is lost, though. In fact, that is why we are here - me and *him*. By the way, I hope you are in bed now. I will put you to sleep."
"Physical pain and pointlessness - pleasure and purpose, interesting counterpoints". I closed my tired eyes, and the angel whispered a lullaby.
"Sleep in peace tonight", she crooned, as I started drifting off to sleep.
"Who are you?", I asked, with the final dregs of consciousness that I could muster.
"You still don't know?"
"I am the meaning of your life"