– Good morning.
– Good morning to you. Please take a seat. I finish a phone call and arrive.
He is standing, facing the wall, scribbling some typed papers. I sit down in a worn brown leather chair and look around. There are a slew of operators at work here; I can’t see the end of the hall. Despite this, there are so many desks that they have been forced to stack them almost one on top of the other. And even I have a certain sense of privacy, as if none of the swarming people here can hear each other’s conversations.
– Here we are. I am at your complete disposal.
He sits down in front of me and looks at me with very clear eyes, questioning but neutral.
– What exactly do you want for your trip?
– I would like to do a small trial of two or three months, possibly.
As I imagined, while maintaining a certain gentleness, her face noticeably darkens.
– Are you sure you want to take such a short trip?
– Yes…yes. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just a small test. I’m not intent on moving for a long time.
– Do you realize that we have some extremely interesting trips right now? These are quite long periods of time as well, with the opportunity for experiences that would lead you to grow tremendously. We have fun and relaxing options, but also a lot of adventure travel, with varying levels of complication, from the undemanding to the nearly impossible.
Smiles. Some people think that by smiling they can achieve anything. But I don’t want to take it out on him/her either, he/she is just doing his/her job to the best of his/her ability, and his/her job is precisely to try to make us have the best trip possible, harming as few people as possible. Unfortunately, mine will be a different kind of journey.
– Listen, at the moment I don’t feel like explaining to you in full the reasons why I don’t intend to go away for a long time. However, I would really like to take a very very short route. I haven’t traveled for a long time and I would like to take it slow. Last time, although the hike was relatively fleeting, I had so many difficulties, and dealt with them so badly, that I decided to wait until I really felt ready.
All I did was be scared the whole time, and I didn’t enjoy a single second of my choice. I need something easier, then I will start again maybe, gradually.
The being rests his elbow on the table and his chin in the crook of his hand, and turns his face to look into the lower left corner. She lets out a slight sigh between resigned and sympathetic; eventually she resumes speaking.
– Of course, she decides of course. She’s traveled with us before, so she’ll know that for the kind of itinerary she wants, there are at least two options. She can choose to abandon the trip when she wishes, or find a host who will send her away on her own decision. In the second case she obviously has very little chance of changing her mind in the process.
– Yes, I would like – if it is possible – to leave.
– All right. I pass your data to the computer. There will be a short period of time waiting to find suitable hosts for his situation. Even though you are surely already aware of what I am about to tell you, by law I must still make you aware of the fact that in any case, whatever decision you make now or later, even during your journey, you may at any time exercise your free will, both positive and negative. Unfortunately, during this kind of journey he will never be fully conscious nor able to make any “active” decision. But of course he will not need to decide anything. He will always be in a state of almost total unconsciousness.
I move the chair as far as I can, considering that the distance with the back of the one behind me is only a few centimeters, and I get up with a half smile. I hold out my hand and when she/he gives me hers I shake it with the other, as is always the custom in this middle place.
– I thank you so much. When can I come back for all the details and the travel plan?
– You will be contacted in a very short time, I will provide personally. I forgot one last detail, although in this case it is absolutely secondary; but I am obliged to ask you. Do you have any preference regarding sex?
– Male. Male, please. I await your news.
I walk calmly towards the huge glass door that opens automatically as I pass. At the moment there is a cool, pleasant mist and everything is very calm around here. Everything is always so serene here. I don’t want to stray for too long.