Four times per day.
That's how often the sullen old man across the street waters his plants. Plants made of synthetic fibers and paint.
A yellow car from the 80s drives around the block thrice before pulling out onto the main road. Every morning, at 8 AM sharp.
Six of the ten houses on my street are either couples with no children or singles living alone, like myself. I've been told a common symptom of various psychological disorders is seeking a pattern where none exists, cherrypicking the evidence to support the conclusion.
I've spent all week observing the same patterns emerge, day after day, timed to the very second. Not even the world's most punctual worker with obsessive-compulsive disorder will circle the block three times and pull off to their commute at exactly 8 AM, not a second after the clock turns, and be gone by exactly 8:05.
Which begs the question, why uphold the illusion of everyday suburbia only to allow erroneous patterns to emerge? I highly doubt it's something so elaborate or conspiratorial as them all being paid actors to help me reintegrate with society. Not when I've known many of these people since childhood--or at least, I've known of them, memorized their faces, and never thought to question their routines before the events of this past year.
Methinks someone's mask slipped and they've forgotten to fix the strings.