Chapter _; book i
Working chapter title: the delicate art of adaptation
When he bought the farmhouse and adjacent land in Wisconsin, it had seemed like a quiet, out of the way place for him to get his life in order. Over time, the empty rooms and expanse of land left him feeling disconnected from the world. Severed.
The first morning, [and most of the first week, after he abandoned Colorado, and everything Colorado used to hold for him, he felt as if he simply hadn't arrived home yet.] Each day, he fought the urge to finish the trip, every hour dragged on as a desperate, clinging reminder of the time he was wasting. He wasn't home, and yet nothing except for his own stubbornness was keeping him away. Not war, nor captivity, not a natural disaster. Captivity, however, had shown him the light side of even his typically negative traits. His bullheadedness had saved his life, or at least it stood to reason that it had. When the tedium of lonely nights began to suffocate him, to keep him up, restless and weary, he reminded himself of the cave floor. Of the empty silence in his head for those long months. Of the blistering cold, the singing heat, the tub full of blood. He reminded himself that he could still be hanging by his wrists from chains thicker than his arms. He reminded himself what perseverance felt like, and then he would sleep.
He stayed in, cooking for himself or ordering delivery, partly because he was afraid that venturing outside would unwind his delicate resolve. That he would find his feet carrying him back, moved by his very soul, his mind left powerless but screaming. At some point, he told himself, you have to admit your weaknesses. Everyone has a limit, a breaking point; and he would be better off admitting it then and dealing with it accordingly.
Boredom crept in midway through week one when all the shows on television were repeats, and he'd exhausted his interest in the internet. He spent a small fortune buying video games and their corresponding consoles, and later moved on to art supplies; but by the end of week two he'd beaten most of the games and was finding less and less inspiration in his surroundings to create anything artistic. He switched to literature in week three, gobbling up books and magazines, blowing through whole series in a day or two, but eventually everything felt the same. It didn't help matters that simple food wasn't keeping him satisfied, either. He spent much of his time preparing meals, large feasts that could feed half a dozen men to bursting; but hours later, when the food was gone, he still felt a growing part of him remain hollow. By week four, he was eating six or seven should-be banquets a day, but his body was metabolizing everything too quickly for his gorging to make a dent in the hunger that was beginning to haunt his thoughts. He cut his daily workouts down to weekly ones, hoping a more sloth-like behavior pattern would keep his appetence at bay for a few more weeks.
His newfound goal of fixing up the farmhouse started with a leak under the kitchen sink. In almost no time at all, it expanded to replacing the roof. Within days, he had a list of projects hanging on the fridge; three full pages of tasks he could burn through. He took great care to move slowly and take a meal break every two to four hours, hoping to replace the energy promptly after expending it, but it didn't seem to help much. His meal count climbed to eight or nine a day. To save more energy, he started sleeping in later, but never by more than an hour or two. Without his workouts, and with the blissful emptiness of nine hours of sleep a night, he survived another week without blood.