Between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, I was desperately in love with college guys. From the dirty window of my prison school bus, I could see them freely walking around the nearby campus with plaid shirt and loose jeans on, nonchalantly listening to music in their headphones while carrying a low hanging worn backpack. I held my breath and couldn’t wait to go to college. A few years later, I entered the same campus as a student myself and stood there on the sidewalk with my backpack on. But it just wasn’t the same.
I see the words fuzzily dance up and down, slowly, in the computer screen ahead. I sit and stare just as she would, for what seems like a long time with no other plans in my life. And only then, does my mother make complete sense to me.
He was sitting in front of the shrink amidst silence. “And you’re saying that you think there’s nothing wrong with you?” Asked the shrink.
“No, nothing major,” he responded.
The shrink wrote something in the notepad. “You’re saying,” continued the shrink “That you’re here because you just want to talk to someone?”
“Quite right,” he answered.
“Alright,” the shrink said followed by a moment of pause. “So let’s continue with where we left off. What was her name, this ex-partner that you were elaborating on earlier? You believed she had the most fascinating of names.”
“Serenity,” he spoke.
“Serenity was her name?”
“No, not necessarily. At least that’s what it meant.”
“So Serenity was not her actual name?” The shrink verified.
“No. I prefer not to disclose it for confidential reasons.”
“That’s fine,” the shrink said as he jotted something down. “And may I ask, what was fascinating about it?”
“She had large dull eyes. They were dark and they hardly had any spark to them. She didn’t talk much. But the most fascinating thing is; I don’t believe she even thought much. I believe she was vacuous.”
“Yes, it’s unfathomable.”
“Because there’s always a little voice inside my head. Talking in different tones and accents; depending on what I’m reading or thinking. It drives me crazy. I can’t fathom someone not always thinking or listening to little voices in their heads,” he explained.
“You found this fascinating about her?” The shrink asked.
“The fact that she was vacuous?”
“Yes,” he clarified. He shifted his seating position. “That could be fascinating, couldn’t it be doc?”
“One can suppose.”
“It makes sense to me. I find it fascinating because I want it in my life, badly.”
“Well, what happened?”
The man paused for a moment. “I quickly became fascinated by other things instead,” he said. He sipped the glass of water that was next to him, and the shrink did the same. They were sitting before each other amidst silence.
A boat, beneath a sunny sky
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July
Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear
Long has paled that sunny sky;
Echoes fade and memories die;
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.
Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die;
Ever drifting down the stream
Lingering in the golden gleam
Life, what is it but a dream?
1872, Lewis Carroll
He looked out his apartment window and thought, what is life but a waste of time? You’re not in my arms. I would feel complete if I could share what I’m doing with you. But I’m not, so I’m half empty. And in days like these, there’s no romanticizing longing. It just sucks.
He got up from his bed and went into the kitchen. He prepared his leftover meal from last night and microwaved it. He walked towards his bed with dinner in his hands and turned on the TV. He skipped through the channels. There was nothing exciting on. He left it at some sports that didn’t interest him and watched it while he ate before flipping through some more channels. News. Shopping. Drama. Comedy. He kept flipping, then turned it off. He grabbed his phone and browsed through pictures of some vacant chicks he had swiped right a few weeks ago. Feeling crappier, he set that aside too.
He finished his dinner and walked back into the kitchen. He stacked his plate atop a dozen dirty dishes from previous nights. He went into the bathroom to rinse and looked at himself in the mirror. Tired eyes, saggy skin and unshaven face. He speculated a couple of white hairs and the fact that he may be balding. Apathetically, he switched off the lights and walked out. Sitting at the edge of his bed, he rested his face on his hands and sat in silence. There was no TV yapping away, no music, no sound coming from the fan. Everything was dead. He rubbed his face and looked at his rough, withered hands. Dry and chapped. Bitter and anxious. Confined and mad. The silent room began to scream, and his temples began to throb. With his heart racing and sweat about to sprout, he panicked and got up. He put on his jacket and locked the door behind him. He was out of there.
He pulled out his cigarette and walked down the street that night as the breeze combed through his hair and as the air cooled off his face. Bright lights numbed his brain and he closed his eyes. There were beggars pleading for money and drunkards shouting like hoodlums. It was noise that he wanted after all. It was the caress of the wind, the lure of the lights. He drew his cigarette deep. It was her breath in his lungs. It made him walk onwards, as he died a little more.
The further you are, the deeper I’ll go
The dimmer your call, the longer I’ll take
The briefer your span, the closer I’ll spread
Is it white heaven or green hell? The water droplet glides across a green leaf and falls into the ground as if it knows what it’s doing. It’s over 100 Fahrenheit weather and my mind is clouded with steaming and scorching fog. Forehead throbs with painful memories that become ever so pleasurable and vivid with each step, as each foot clumsily surpasses the other. Walking eyes closed with sweat seeping through the cotton; my body is plastered and mummified. Taste of sweat in the corners of the mouth, burning sensations along the tear ducts. Breathing delayed. I may die here. Unearthly creatures may live here. The broken temple of the past brings no mercy. There’s creatures screeching like monkeys from afar. There’s crickets warning with each stroke. There’s landmines that may blow up in milliseconds. This treacherous greenery; so lush and alive. This mist that is full of little warm droplets; hug and latch, crawl and suffocate, glide down my thighs, flow out like river. I’ve never felt heaver. I’ve never felt freer; never more trapped. Never more present, never more delirious. Sweltering sweat, screaming sounds. Keep breathing, keep walking eyes closed… while the fog attempts to diffuse you into pieces, as the greenery tries to sip you up, bit by bit, drop by drop.