Day 28 of The Literal Challenge aka Like The Prose

I’m not going to say much about this, but can you work out what is missing in this puzzling conundrum?


Daylight. My mind stalls, my sanity in stagnation. Misinformation assaults my soul, but this unknown thing is still missing. From day to day, its loss haunts my hours continuously – with no sign of it at all, I cannot function.

Without pausing to think, I roll from my divan, start my day. Shaving follows washing; food follows ablutions: a rota of actions I am making not gradually but quickly, to avoid thinking, to avoid hurting. But it is still missing. Why?

Fantastical thoughts assault and assail my mind. My discomfort grows. Raw aching loss is all around, hanging in mid-air, as if to cry out for aid. Its harsh call drowns out any sound but that of total panic. It will not stop haunting my soul. Am I crazy? Or is my insanity just a shadowy phantom?

An air of … what? Was it only an illusion? A fantasy? My confusion grows. Whilst cogitating, I fix on facts: it is missing, but loss is only transitory: it is not truly hurt nor pain. A hint of longing; an aura of unavailability – that is what I know. Rubbish! Who am I fooling? I gawk at my own stupidity in thinking it would not still do harm although it is missing.

I climb a mountain in my mind, still pursuing my missing companion. How difficult this is! My hunt is continuing but my avidity is waning. Ignoring my soul’s call, struggling to drown it out again, I try to focus on work; but my passion for data and my ardour for statistics vanish quickly, rapidly, as hours turn into days turn into months – and it is still missing.

What can I say? What should I do? How is a loss so small – so insignificant – paradoxically so important? How will I hold fast against such odds? My soul faints from lack of clarity, but my body is thriving still. How ironic that a missing part can limit in such a way.

Its loss is also starting to worry my family and a nasty aura surrounds all our companionship, mars all our communication. Our lack of affinity grows. All of us want a solution: not knowing is paralysing. Unity of loss binds us with cords of horror.

My social status is nothing now. Class, rank, standing, position – all contain no worth. My mind whirls, spins, turns in dizzying arcs. My brain is aching, my body forcing it to go through its daily motions, hiding its pain as if too proud, too haughty to admit my own disability, my inability to find this missing thing.

What is it, this missing thing? It is not hand, nor arm, nor foot – nor any part common to man or animal or bird or fish. It is not food nor drink; sun nor rain; light nor shadow – but it is vital to all.

My train of thought slows, but my hunt is continuing. Will I find it? Who knows its location? Can philosophy in any way start solving a fraction of all my mind’s probing musings and phantasmagoria as I study a missing thing that avoids my finding it? Twisting and tangling, my thoughts turn to turmoil. My mission to find it is null and void.

Night falls. It is missing still.

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