Clif Clemons conceived the bogus, laughable, seemingly over-used (thus attaining its invisibility) concept for the first real, that is, conclusory time while he was somewhere reading a book.
He had been reading that sentence where the author explained the heroine's rationalization as being vacuum tight and flawless, that is, except for the premise. That she was worthless and wanted to kill herself.
Clif was apt to set down a book in any manner of ways: dog-eared, bookmarked, or opened flat face down; just as he was likely to in the middle of a sentence, or at any odd interval of text. Sometimes, the thought of a just-read sentence would trigger repetitive associations in Clif's mind and his eyes would turn to an open window magnetically.
Not that he looked at or even noticed the flawless sky there. Sometimes after his thought the then-revealed presence of blue sky would abruptly bump him into trance-thinking of an unpursuable nature. Most of the time any such chain of thought as this inevitably led him to forgetting the book he'd been reading.
It was during an occasion such as this that he thought, “I really am alone and the whole world, everyone I know, is simply a reflexive response—not to my unvoiced wishes, but to my acted out ones.”
Clif believed this, somehow assembling its meaning in his head and finding the ability to confirm it. Like when he kissed his girlfriend. He stopped once and wondered if it were not because he initiated the gesture. He could not remember a time in which she singled him out for a kiss. When they kissed he knew it to be something in which they met half-way, though if measured, his portion of involvement most certainly would be over fifty percent of the whole. This in fact, for Clif Clemons, turned out to be true—as far as kissing his girlfriend was concerned.
In every instance it was he who began the kiss, he who broke the ice—he who did the real kissing—as far as he was concerned. And so he decided concretely that this effect could be taken further into all the remaining aspects of his life.
This dawned terror in him. His whole life, everything he ever did and was still in the process of doing, was introduced by he and he alone. The universe was just something that responded reflexively to his cue, meeting him half-way, or to be a bit more precise, forty-sixty.
Perhaps some would have found this strangely exciting, or have visions of being able to do anything, if the universe simply reacted automatically to their actions. But Clif's terror was correct. For he knew then he was completely alone.