Once there was a perfectly ordinary man that was just as smart and polite and likeable as any other man. He smiled at elderly women and returned found wallets and tipped his bellhops. He had a nice car and a modest home and a well-paying job that gave him an office with a door which he decorated with postcards his relatives sent him from around the world. Some people found his company to be good, some found it to be great, and quite a few didn’t care one way or the other. The only thing that seemed to be troubling about him was that he was halved right down the middle, between the eyes.
This did prove to be a problem, but it was a relatively common one. The halved man saw other halved people hopping down the street all the time; and they saw him and didn’t think any less of him, because they had the same problem. Of course, being halved wasn’t enjoyable; it got lonely and dull being only a portion of what you were meant to be. That is why halved people spent all their lives searching for another half—one that would fit them perfectly, and would move and speak and carry itself the way that they did.
Sometimes this man and the other halved people came across two halved people knitted together into one unified person, as was the eternal goal of all halved people, but as the two knitted halves tried to walk or talk or do taxes, their movements were jerky and unpredictable. They didn’t unify the way two halved people should—at least not the way perfect unified wholes did. Other people noticed this but usually didn’t comment, because it wasn’t their place. It wasn’t surprising, however, to find these not-so-perfect wholes to be split into their original halves again in the future, crying single tears out of their single eyes and frowning little half-frowns.
In contrast to these jerky wholes, sometimes, in rare circumstances, two halves would fit perfectly and with no difficulty of movement. They had fluidity and grace and looks of pure, sedated happiness that made other halved people itch with envy. These perfect wholes’ lives were doable with the other half’s addition; they themselves were calmer, happier, and more excited to do mundane, everyday things.
This brings us back to our perfectly ordinary man, who had had yet to find a fluid unity with another half. Sometimes he ventured to try but usually came up short. Once he tried to unify with a half that seemed very lively and interesting, but once together he felt that there was more of her than there was of him when they were unified and separated from her. Another time it was with a very intelligent half, but he found her to be reserved and unfeeling; it was as if he was still a halved person, but was now being forced to support a lot of extra weight.
But there came a dark, fateful day when this man came across a very striking half. She was more poised and graceful and happy and entertaining than any other half could be, and the man was stunned by her confidence and beauty. And as soon as she laid eye on him, she found him just as breathtaking, and they spoke in happy, excited tones about themselves and each other and what they could become as one. It wasn’t long before they unified and became whole.
With her at his side, the man had never felt happier. He felt that the world was brighter and his movements more graceful with her. As they walked down the street in unity, he saw the envious glances of the lonely halves and the not-so-perfect wholes, and he was overcome with astounding gaiety and pride.
He was positive that his other half felt the same way, but the sky was dark and brewing with storms. He should have felt the grimace on her half of the whole, but he didn’t, somehow; he felt as though he were flying and couldn’t sense the impending crash.
The man was shocked when he felt her pulling away. He demanded to know why. He couldn’t believe it. Their unity was rare and beautiful; he’d never before felt anything like it and knew he’d never feel it again.
But she disagreed; she insisted that theirs was not the coveted unity, and she wasn’t going to stick around pretending it was. She split from him and hopped off, a lonely half once again.
The perfectly ordinary man, who had so recently felt unimaginable joy, felt a profound sadness that seemed to slice him into pieces. As the sky broke open and the rain fell, he could have sworn, though he knew it was impossible, that she had taken bits of him along with her when she left.