Meandering

I feel disconnected.

This morning, I woke up thinking I was going to have an interesting day.

Today was the day I’d finally start talking to that girl in my class.

Today was the day I’d meet a professor and talk about the new, exciting play I’d written.

Today was the day I’d get home, feeling satisfied, feeling accomplished. I’d go to the gym and get in my exercise for the day. I’d push a little harder, go a little further.

I’d get back, feeling good, eat some hot dogs for dinner as a gift to myself for all my hard work, settle down, relax, and then crush the take-home math test due the next day. Then I’d lie back chill out and prepare for tomorrow.

None of that happened.

“I actually have a workshop today that I forgot about,” she wrote.
“That’s okay,” I said, feeling disheartened. I reread my play while on the toilet. I spent three dollars printing it out at the school library that morning. I even got to school early because I knew I didn’t have time to print it after class. I was excited to finally hear an opinion about it. It’s fine, it can wait until next week.

In class, me and the girl I sit next to made terse conversation. Likely we would have never spoken if she hadn’t been late to class on the first day. The seat next to mine had been the last one available. The seat next to mine is always, mysteriously, the last one available.

It’s not like we aren’t friends. Class ends unceremoniously. I want to interview her for the class project due next week, a ‘feature’ style news story, so I ask if she’s free. Not today. Next time. The vibe. It was all about the vibe.

I try to tell myself that her attitude didn’t mean anything. I’m probably right but I can’t convince me. I drive home in strained silence. It’s about 2 p.m., and I’d expected to get home around 3 or 4, depending. Depending on nothing, now. The planned interactions of the day amounted to nothing. All I have to look forward to is a math test. At least its a take home. At least I have more time to do it.

I feel utterly awful. I keep going around in my head. Thoughts that punch me in the gut. They punch even harder because they are ridiculous, absurd thoughts. I think about why its never worked out with women. Why it seems nobody ever likes talking to me. Why it seems like I’m always the person stranded in a ‘pick your own groups’ scenario.

Aren’t things supposed to be better than this? Aren’t I supposed to meet a girl who will change my world soon? That’s what happens in stories. Aren’t I supposed to get that big break?

Instead things turn out very ordinary. I’ve gotten an internship with a news organization, and while it should be exciting and fulfilling, it is more hollow and unsurprising. I feel like I am not living to my full potential.

I go to the gym and work out. I think that maybe if I work out I’ll get over the sting of a mediocre day. Why does it hurt so bad? I don’t even feel my arms as I lift the weights. They are not there. All that is there is the center of my stomach. The heavy center of my torso, where everything is black decay.

It hurts because I’ve convinced myself it will never work out with any woman. That I will never be any more than ordinary. That I will never be the first person picked for a group. That I will never be able to say that I was not the last person sat next to in a room full of strangers.

I push harder. Harder than I ever have. I try to push harder than I have in my entire life. I try to throw all that I am into weights. Into the run machine. Try to watch the numbers climb infinitely, as if this is the movie I believe it should be. As if in this moment everything will change.

Today was supposed to be the day everything changed. Nothing changed.

Same old story, same old song and dance. I heard it on the radio while I drove to pick myself up some pretzels.

The rational side of me knows that one day things will change and I won’t even know it. One day it actually will work out with that girl I’m interested in. One day I will accomplish something that fulfills me.

The day after it will feel hollow. I’ll find something else to worry me. I’ll find something else to yearn for. I will never be satisfied. I’m not simple enough. I’m sorry, Lyndyrd Skynyrd, but I’m not the man my momma wants me to be.

Nobody is. We are all muddled messes. We aren’t deep, we aren’t oceans. We’re ponds with too much trash dumped inside. I want to eat fruit. I want to see female, take female, tell other male female mine. Tell other male cave mine. If they want cave, they go through me.

That’s not how life is. It’s not simple. I love it for how it is. I love rainy days and hot chocolate. I love coffee in the morning and I love the soft sounds of the city and I love people when they smile and do things not because they have to but because they want to. I love all of those things. I feel so separate from them. I feel as sore as a clown at a rodeo. I’m glad I’m the clown, too. Because as much as I love it all, it sickens me. I never knew that I could both love and be sickened by something.

I don’t know what I want. Maybe somebody will give me what I need. Maybe I’ll get it and not even realize. Maybe I’ll die and never have to worry about it. I’d never kill myself, but sometimes I want to get hit by a car, sometimes I want to get struck by lightning, sometimes I want all of reality to just end.

More and more I feel like a cliche. I try to justify my depression by coming up with reasons why I am distinguishable. Why my circumstance is different. Why I’m not just the same as all these other depressed people. The thought of being sad for the same reasons makes me even more upset. Maybe I’m unique in that.

I still haven’t taken my math test. At least my hot dogs tasted good.

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