He was afraid of forever hoping, wishing and wondering. 'What could be's. 'What might have been's. Days lapsed into weeks and time revealed themselves as wrinkles on his face.

"The problem with following your dreams? You realise that it was never meant to be. Much better to hold on to illusions. Il-lu-sions, they are beautiful. They sustain, they give hope. One day, he promised himself, someday. But tomorrows came and yesterdays stretched into one murky blur. That day, it jusn't wasn't meant to be. If only I had tried, I'd be successful, he comforted himself. If I had seized that opportunity. If I wasn't so cowardly. If they had seen me. 'If's and 'what-if's. I'd be living my dreams. That was what he said to himself the day before and will continue to tell himself everyday thereafter."

He was careful to be invisible. Relentlessly boring. Slipshod, quiet. People won't look at him, or at least, they won't take a second look. The edge of the dining table, the corner of the classroom. He told safe jokes on neutrons, electrons and megatrons. He feared to speak about politics, about visual arts, and above all, meanings in life. He didn't dare to look at others in the eye - not because he doesn't want to be reciprocally seen but because he was afraid of what others would see.

He trembled, like the last leaf on the dying tree in his memory.

The Dying Tree's Wish of Being Upside Down