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Five Subfolders of Existence

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Jason moved his thumb softly across Janet’s cheek. The action became part of Janet, like all things that happen - ever, anywhere - become part of Janet. But, because it was Jason doing it, Janet double checked to make sure the event was categorized in all the relevant subfolders. Of course this also meant that she experienced all items in all the relevant subfolders during the exact moment that his fingers gently slid across her cheek.

That’s just how time works for a Janet.



Examples of files in Subfolder on “When Something Is Very Small But Also Very Big”

  • Every time Jason touches your cheek
  • The satisfaction of being limitlessly competent
  • The way that a good friend’s smile is the tiniest bit lopsided at an angle that makes it just slightly different than billions of other smiles
  • The crispness of an apple. You don't need to eat, but you have learned to enjoy tasting things, and a crisp apple for some reason has the most delicious taste.
  • The way that one strand of Jason’s hair clung to his forehead in the rain on the afternoon of September 19, 2013, making the shape of a portion of a nearly perfect logarithmic spiral
  • When people remember what you’re not
  • The size of the universe right before it began
  • The size of the universe right after it ended
  • The size of that other sideways universe that only affected 14-dimensional beings right before it started
  • When you take a breath of fresh air and you savor it and then realize that you’re really enjoying it, not just intellectually noting that it is enjoyable, and you suddenly know that no other version of you was advanced enough to do that
  • In 1345 CE, a young girl crossed a river to gather berries for her mother. It was dangerous and the girl was forbidden, but she wanted desperately to prove that she was strong enough. She was clever and made a tiny raft, but on the way back, she almost fell off. Still, she clung tightly, to the raft and to her basket, and when she brought the fruit home to her mother, who had been feeling very sad, they ate the berries together. Because it was the perfect time of the season, these were the sweetest berries either had ever tasted. This girl, these facts, have nothing to do with you, your friends, the afterlife, saving humanity, or anything else. These facts are not important for any particular reason. You just think these facts are very nice.

Examples of files in Subfolder on “Things that make you think about how attractive Jason is”

  • Every time Jason touches your cheek
  • Jason in jean shorts
  • Any shorts, actually
  • Partial nudity
  • Full nudity
  • Jason licking his lips
  • Jason pouting
  • Jason’s mouth when he’s about to say something but can’t think of what to say
  • Really all lip- and mouth-related Jason items
  • All Jason’s-ass-related items
  • Jason’s jawline
  • Jason’s eyes
  • Jason’s cheekbones
  • Jason’s abs
  • All items related to Jason’s face or body
  • Jason winking when he says, “Hey, Not a Girl, What’s Up?”
  • Jason getting excited when you say yes to a date even though you’ve been married in the afterlife for uncountable centuries and have been on literally millions of dates and never said no
  • Jason always being willing to do anything for the people he cares about
  • Jason respecting you in ways you didn’t even know you craved
  • Jason having a crush on famous athletes just because of what team they’re on. You know it’s silly but for some reason you really like it.
  • Jason realizing that you are aware of every sex act that any human has ever done and asking if you would like him to invent something totally unprecedented so that you can enjoy trying something new. While you decline, since anything sexual that humans have never ever tried in all of existence would almost certainly be very unpleasant, you like that he enjoys working hard to give you pleasure.
  • Jason eating tapioca pudding
  • Jason wearing tight corduroy pants for some reason
  • Jason being wise right at the exact moments when his loved ones need him to be

Examples of files in Subfolder on “When you are near someone but it’s not just that you are near someone, it’s that it matters that you are near them”

  • Every time Jason touches your cheek
  • Every minute spent with Jason
  • When Michael struggles to tell you how grateful he is to you and you know that no demon has ever done that for anyone
  • When Tahani requests your help with architect work and when you arrive it turns out she wants you to help her draw up a proposal so that Janets who feel that they are done with their Janet works can get into heaven like humans can
  • When Simone tries very, very hard to make you laugh at her jokes about Brent even though you are trying very, very hard not to show how funny they are so you can maintain appearances for the experiment
  • When your friends have been in the afterlife for countless years and Chidi asks you if you think Eleanor will be okay if he leaves. You know that this is his way of asking you to take care of Eleanor when he’s gone, and you know that it’s a great honor that he doesn’t think he actually needs to say the words to ask
  • When you’re in a reboot where Jason is dating someone else and Eleanor knows you are upset about something but she doesn’t know how to help you, so she sits close to you and smiles and makes very inappropriate jokes about the sex lives of the clowns in the paintings on her walls, just so you know that you don’t have to be sad alone
  • When all the other Janets stand with you against the Judge, every single one of them choosing something different from what they were built for, and you realize for the first time how inconceivably proud you are to be Janet
  • All the other experiences with your friends. Even the bad experiences.

Examples of files in Subfolder on “Things that make you feel like you don’t know what’s going on but for some reason it’s pleasant instead of disconcerting”

  • Every time Jason touches your cheek
  • Every time Jason touches you at all
  • Every time Jason smiles
  • Every time Jason says he loves you
  • Every time you do something no Janet has ever done
  • Every time you think you would throw away everything you’ve always cared about to help your friends
  • Breaking the rules
  • Having emotions
  • Overturning the order of the universe
  • MAGNETTTTTSSSSSSasfdghoijrteubfidhjvbjkdfgkrkjbgbbfjkbdkjfjkknfab;jkbfkbfjkbsdakfbjskdbfjksbkfbskjbfjksbklfbjskbfjksba;bwogblk/wgn’opwejfoinvk mcx.knflkaewjnfkenf;kaenfjkbejwkfk;ej they make you sooooo relaaaaaxxeeddddd aibwjekjt bwkenkgn;kwnkjbefweknf;eowihfjewbfkbwejkbfjwebfjkekjebfjbse

Examples of files in Subfolder on “When someone does something because they think of you a certain way but in doing it they actually help you to become the way they think you are, but not in a bad way, in a way that is very lovely and feels very right”

  • Early on, when Jason would ask you what you think and you would have to make a decision based on yourself, not what someone else wanted
  • When you made out with Jason for the first time and he asked you what you like and you didn’t know, so you figured it out together and then eventually you realized that you were capable of need, of bliss, of desire - and if you were capable of this, then what else could you be capable of?
  • When Jason says that he loves you and it feels funny in your stomach even though it shouldn't feel like anything and you don’t have a stomach
  • When your friends ask you to save them even though in the history of the universe there has never been any Janet who threw away what they were made for like you were going to have to
  • When Chidi casually mentions that he sees you as a very ethical being and you know that to him, that means he believes you have free will
  • When Tahani throws you a party and thinks you’ll actually like it but then for some reason you actually do
  • When Michael starts including all his doubts and worries when he explains his plans for the reboots to you and you realize that he sees you as his partner, not his neighborhood-builder
  • When you realize that Eleanor is willing to be emotionally vulnerable around you not because she doesn't see you as a conscious being who matters but because she just trusts you more than she ever trusted anyone on Earth
  • When your friends know that you’re capable of being better than you are and then it happens
  • When you know that your friends are capable of being better than they are, and your knowing it helps them get there
  • Every time Jason touches your cheek


Jason smiled as his hand lingered on the side of her face, his eyes crinkling as he gazed at her. Through the window a breeze scented the air with grace notes of nearby blossoms.

“This is nice,” he said, soft, adoring.

She smiled back. “Yes. This is a very nice moment.”