The ancient Greeks told of a place called Hyperborea—a place beyond the north winds. It was a sort of Utopia, a place of perfection and the happiness of man. This was the Utopia for which man has been striving ever since.
Arthur walked. He liked to walk at night when no one else was around. At around ten o'clock, everyone had their place. The stayers home were pajama clad, tucked into a them-shaped crevice in their couch, faces lit in blue LCD by primetime television. The partiers had arrived fashionably late and were mingling in some senseless dance of small talk and self-centeredness leading up to where they would spend their night, and with whom. This was Arthur's hour. He was restless—his chair bore no semblance of his form—and he wasn't a fan of small talk. He'd given up long ago on meeting anyone worthwhile in this dead end hellhole. His bed fit him and no one but him; his apartment was set for one—one chair in the kitchen, one towel, and one leather chair in the living room.
The only things he kept in abundance were books. Arthur loved books. It seems they were the only things to bring him joy in this place, a joyless place. But often he felt that he was the only one who saw it, how desolate it was. Everyone else seemed perfectly content with the emptiness of their lives. Only he was toiled each day to lift himself out of bed. He felt so unfulfilled, he should have been light. Yet he was heavy. Every movement felt heavy, each footfall resounding with a great thud on whatever surface he transgressed. But no one else heard.
He went out at this time of night because he could feel the air. He'd read in his books about something called wind, some blowing of the air from no apparent source. It made things move. There was no wind in this town, he'd never felt it. He couldn't even comprehend the idea of this mysterious movement of air. During the day, he was so surrounded by everything, nearly crushed by its mere presence. It almost surprised him that there was enough oxygen in the surrounding emptiness to provide for everything around him. But at night, he felt the air. He could feel its stillness. It was better than nothing, the air itself in its unmovingness better than feeling nothing at all. He breathed in the still night as he walked, breaking through its smog filled, rotten, smelling curtain.
And so Arthur walked. As he did, he imagined the wind. He imagined moving, the feeling of something blowing across his face while he stood perfectly still, a force from somewhere else, incomprehensible and fantastic. The concept of the wind almost pushed him forward, an intangible gust propelling him from streetlamp to streetlamp, empty eyed and stonehearted. Arthur walked.
He made the rounds of his usual streets and arrived at the chipped red door of his apartment building just in time for the first inebriated shades to stumble into the streets and shatter his night air with their caustic laughter. Key in hand, he paused on the steps to look around him. He observed a concrete wasteland, hardened but fragile, as if one gust of wind could cause it all to come tumbling down. Was the world playing some sick joke on him? Surely he would wake up tomorrow to something other than this. The fires of hell would be better, because at least they would burn. He would feel something. He couldn't imagine worse than this soporific tundra, an anarctic architecture build to taunt him. He'd tasted beauty in old parchment, but he was surrounded by emptiness—empty laughter, empty buildings, empty eyes. This was not life. This was existence in its lowest form. It was apathy—sorrow without the chase of feathers of hope. Inescapable, he realized. These sidewalks all ended, the streets dead-ended. He was in a constant state of not dying. Living was as foreign to this land as wind, as movement.
A car driving past and honking at two human shaped kegs pulled Arthur out of his reverie. He gave one long look to the street before him and turned away. As he fumbled with his keys to unlock the door, a gust of wind whistled past him.