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Gently, gently, Austin brushed Riley’s wavy hair off of their forehead. Luckily, they were a deep sleeper and didn’t so much as twitch as Austin did so. Still wary of making any sound, Austin raised his calipers to Riley’s head. Well-oiled, no fear of any squeaks as he drew the prong close. The real danger was Austin’s shaking hands, excited as he was to get this final measurement. In the dark, he could only see the little screen on the digital calipers, but Austin had been in this room many times before. Beautiful paintings of Riley’s own creation adorned the walls, a gorgeous vintage loveseat was set against the wall behind Austin with shiny and soft orange upholstery. Apparently Riley had just found it one day. Someone had thrown out this incredible item and Riley, in their good fortune, had just happened upon it. Except, no, no. Not fortune. Luck was not real, Austin chided himself. Reality did not just happen, chaos unfolding and refolding. Minds created the flow of reality around them, surging and calming that flow by emitting energy. And Riley’s mind emitted the most powerful energy he’d ever seen. The screen on the calipers lit up. 172mm. Smaller than average. Maybe, Austin thought, there was a question of potency, of concentration.
Austin crept out of the room, closing the door most of the way but not entirely. 172mm, he reminded himself. Riley would think they’d left the door cracked. Their mind, constantly shaping the world around them, had never been concerned with little material details. 172mm. As Austin retreated to his room, taking deliberate heel-toe steps to make as little sound as possible, he wondered what would happen if his mind became more like Riley’s. Would the apartment become a complete mess, 172mm, with both of them unable to lower their gaze on the simple facts of cleaning up and throwing away trash? It was worth the risk to gain the effortless joy of Riley’s life.
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