“On a Megabus to New York City — for around fifteen hours, due to a two-hour delay in Buffalo — he read all he could find by Alethia on the internet, becoming more “obsessed,” he felt, after each article, lying on his back across two seats with knees bent, twice dropping his iPhone onto his face. His interest in Alethia naturally decreased, the next few days, then they texted a few times and he felt renewed obsession, but he didn’t like her impersonal tone in their emails discussing their interview— which she’d spent eight hours transcribing— and, less than a week after they met, all he felt toward her, to his weak amusement, was an unexamined combination of indifference and vague resentment, which he described in an email to Charles, whose previous knowledge of Alethia was that Paul liked her “a lot,” as “strong aversion,” only half joking. Paul’s next email to Charles said “I feel like I ‘hate’ her” and that it seemed, by the bureaucratic language and curtness of Alethia’s emails, like she also “hated” him, that they “hated” each other.”

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