Wendell sat in his room in silence, and he listened: to the sound of his parents at the dinner table eating; to the sound of the phone ringing and his father answering it; to the voice of his father telling Hannah, on the other end of the line, that Wendell wasn’t allowed to speak to anyone; to the sound of his father sitting in is chair and reading, with pipe in mouth, while his mother listened to the radio; to the sound of his parents preparing themselves for bed, changing into their pajamas and then settling into their bed. All of this he heard, as the sun sank and his room darkened. He remained the whole time sitting on the floor in still passiveness. He did nothing, didn’t even bother to turn on the light in his bedroom when it grew too dark to see—just sat and thought.
His thoughts were scattered, one thought randomly hopping to another. But one theme kept recurring. He kept on thinking of Dee and of his mysterious school. Was it worth it to leave all of this behind? And how would the tiny sliver of world that he was part of be without him? As to the latter question, he supposed, it would go on. It was arrogant for him to think that he was the center of it. His parents would accustom themselves to a life without him; Rob would make new friends in Dallas; his teachers would forget him; Hannah would find a new boyfriend, perhaps even already had. Just as the ocean rushes in to fill to spot when a cupful of it is removed; so would the greater world accommodate itself to his loss. As to the former question, that was more difficult. He needed them more than they needed him, but if there was something out there, some new sliver of world that Dee was able to open up for Wendell, then it could be worth it.
This was the sum of his thoughts. Had they not been clouded by emotion, he perhaps would’ve come to different conclusion; he perhaps would have chased uncertainty and indecisiveness indefinitely. But his depression had a way of clarifying his thoughts. He saw, or at least thought that he saw, the whole, vast universe and his place in it with unusual lucidity. If there was a place for him, some divot in the ocean that he could fill, he should find it, and Dee seemed the one to supply it.
He decided, after his parents had gone to bed and the moon had risen, that he would leave forever.
He looked out the window of his room, and he saw that Dee’s car was already waiting. He thought about packing, but he realized that there was nothing he wanted and nothing, so far as he knew, that he needed. He took off the fake glasses he’d been wearing and left them in his room beside his bed.
He climbed out of his window and walked towards the car. It was somewhat cold, and he though about fetching a jacket, but didn’t. As he approached the car, the door opened, and Dee, who was seated in the car, backed away to make room for him.
Wendell went up to the door, but he stopped short of stepping inside.
“Should I bring anything?” Wendell asked Dee, who hid in the shadows.
“You do not need to bring anything,” Dee said, “You will want for nothing. Should you wish, you may take some keepsake or memento, but I would recommend against it. You will find it is easier, if you do not.”
Wendell turned back and looked at his house. It was so ordinary. There were several others just like it in the neighborhood. Nothing special or unique about it. Just a place to lay down his head at night and hold his stuff. He assured himself that he wouldn’t miss it. And his parents… It wasn’t as easy to persuade himself that he wouldn’t miss them, but he would endeavor to. He would learn to. Everything dispensable. Everything but on a way point between dust and dust. Everything behind him. Only the future.
“You’re right,” Wendell said to Dee. He climbed up into the seat of the car and closed the door behind him. The driver who sat in the front then started the car down the street, and Wendell watched his home disappear into the distance.