Even when alone, able to uncurl alone and sit slowly up and wring out the sheet and go to the bathroom, these darkest mornings start days that Orin can’t even bring himself for hours to think about how he’ll get through the day. These worst mornings with cold floors and hot windows and merciless light — the soul’s certainty that the day will have to be not traversed but sort of climbed, vertically, and then that going to sleep again at the end of it will be like falling, again, off something tall and sheer.
This obsession is almost irresistible in its force. The amount of organization and toiletry-lugging he has to do to get secretly high in front of a subterranean outtake vent in the pre-supper gap would make a lesser man quail. Hal has no idea why this is, or whence, this obsession with the secrecy of it. He broods on it abstractly at times, when high: this No-One-Must-Know thing. It’s no fear per se, fear of discovery. Beyond that it all gets too abstract and twined up to lead to anything, Hal’s brooding. Like most North Americans of his generation, Hal tends to know way less about why he feels certain ways about the objects and pursuits he’s devoted to than he does about the objects and pursuits themselves. It’s hard to say for sure whether this is even exceptionally bad, this tendency.