He didn’t know when he was first aware of her presence. It was fleeting at first, and then grew. Tickling, like a cough that doesn’t leave the back of your throat, a sneeze uncomfortably lodged midway between ah- and -choo.
Lists began materializing. Startling, one might suppose, since organization was hardly a skill of his. But there was something about those lists. The patterns, the chaos, the attempts at constructing order. The sheer number of enumerations.
First it was just an old faded post-it note. Worn soft from being in a pocket. In his pocket? Odd. The adhesive properties gone, thanks mainly to a light mix of fine gray lint and dust. “Skin cells…” he muttered, thinking about dust. Distractedly, he pulled it out to jot a number. A thought. Something fleeting that slipped away as soon as he saw the bedraggled scrap.
There was nothing unusual about the paper. Standard office fare. Light yellow, synonymous with sticky notes, ballpen--blue? black?--faded, but legible. Written firmly enough to dent the surface of the page. Corners dogeared, creased, and bent from being carelessly shoved into a pocket. But his pocket? Something about it seemed, if not wrong, then somehow improbable.
It wasn’t clear why the note, the scrap, really, was impacting him so strongly. He wasn’t normally prone to rambling bits of rumination. Yet his mind was screaming at him now. He felt jangly and ill-at-ease. He couldn’t bear to give up the scrap and just toss it out. (Or recycle it, as it were.) So, disgruntled, he shoved it back into a pocket and shook himself slightly.
Phew. Deep breath. Stretch. Bemused scratching of his head.