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THE TRUTH IS: I don’t know. Maybe I’ve never known. Maybe I’ve always known. Now here, unscrambled, unstruggling, I can make my cardboard confession. Forgive me father, for I have sold out. I am excited to decorate my cubicle tomorrow. I am looking forward to rote days and bus rides home with twenty seven people I’ll see sometimes daily, and a meeting once a week. I was meant to be better, and my tweenage self is getting food poisoning from what I am now. What is she mad about, anyways? That you aren’t factory-fed anymore? That you aren’t seventy hours tired and always behind? The books stack and you can afford them, soon at least, when the Thursday paycheck hits. Stomachache stomachache stomachache. It’s the cubicle. Little her, who was her patron saint? Anger and hurt and gravy on toast notwithstanding. She wasn’t doing a good enough job. She thinks you’re selling out for fifteen an hour. She thinks you’re cursing your mother, and your mother’s mother, and your whole life before twenty-two. She’s ashamed you aren’t battle bled and chainmailed, no knightly deeds, only an unpaid lunch half hour. These, these are the confessions of a part-time sellout; little her, you still don’t have air conditioning; eating a crunchwrap with your roommate on the porch isn’t a sin; you haven’t gotten your hair cut in more than a year and you still feel goodwilltrash next to everyone you see. The bus fare is still a stretch. It’s the cubicle. Your roommate promises it isn’t, but it has to be. It’s the polyfilm instead of bared teeth. It’s the clockin clockout daily drudge, lunchbreath at 1. It’s that your friends can come over whenever without the mottling of your stomach. It’s your parents alone and an hour away and on the phone. It’s not a sin to be invested in the B-plot of a sitcom. It’s not a sin to live what your parents wanted for you. It’s the cubicle. It’s watching and waiting every morning at eight, and waits for you, bridelike, when you leave at five. It’s virginal for now but tomorrow, the interminable tomorrow, it won’t be. Tomorrow you move in. Tomorrow slow computer adorned and you will leave a part of yourself with it, your trinkets in your cubicle cubicle cubicle, all your things for the sellout, the unmatched, unspecial twentysomething who’s finally just a littlebit making it, alone in a cardboard box.