Darkness Swallows Everyone
It’s 1 A.M. you need to wake up in 7 hours. You set yourself a task to be awake by 8 A.M. every morning. You have classes at 1 P.M, but you think it will be for your best to get used to it. Although you can sleep in, you try not to. Establishing a sleep schedule is important for you to function normally. But, somehow you fail at it every time. Lately the mornings have played on repeat, it slowly but surely starts driving you insane. Sometimes you do think you’re going crazy. But maybe that’s just you. You go to bed late in the morning, you’re a night owl. This is what makes mornings so hard for you. You hear the alarm which does its job to awaken you, but pointlessly, because you stretch your arm and cancel it with your eyes barely open from all the light that invades your room. You fall back on the pillow and then put it aside. You can’t sleep with your head on a pillow, it’s uncomfortable so you never bother. You just put it beside you and hug it close to your body. As if you’re embracing a lover. The bed is a warm place, it’s comfort, it’s the best thing life has offered to you. Sleepless nights, crazy dreams, warmth. The bed is where the good things happen. But eventually you have to wake up, face this day all anew, although pretty much still the same. Same chores, same mindless routines.
You put on your pants and a sweater, same clothes you threw on the ground the night before. They are cold, you start shivering but eventually it gets warmer. Then moving to your bathroom you do your toilet stuff. Rinse your face with some cold water, splash it on your face. Brush your teeth, stare at yourself. Stare at that reflection that is so akin and aloof. Those eyes, those wrinkles, that tired look. The face of a dead man walking. Put on a smile, do some quirky faces, you want to smash that mirror don’t you? What you see is a nobody. You stare at a nobody, he stares back. There’s nothing you can do about it.
Then you go downstairs, same routine as usual. Put the kettle on the stove. Prepare yourself a cup of tea. Turn on the radio and listen to some recent tunes, nothing good seems to be playing, same trendy pop garbage. Disappointed. You seem distracted, you are alone in this enormous kitchen. You zone out and your thoughts just seem scattered all over the place. Nothing in particular, this seems too pointless. What you are doing seems pointless. Same routine, all over again. Repeat. Repeat. The kettle screams that same annoying whistle which wakes you up and gets you to move to turn it off. Today you will refrain from drinking tea, you will make yourself some instant cappuccino from those packages that you got the other day. Same tasteless powder, but you grew accustomed to it. You pour the boiling water into the cup. The water mixes with the powder turning it all into one mass. You can see the steam rising up. You inhale the same old smell. It’s fine, you like it. The radio keeps buzzing in the background, you don’t even care what’s playing, what commercial is going on, what that annoying presenter is telling you. Just shut up, let me enjoy this. Screw you! Now you wonder if you want to compliment that packaged cappuccino with something to eat, or just plainly drink it. You hate eating in the mornings, you hate mostly everything about mornings. But this part of the routine needs to be done. So you decide — you won’t eat anything. Going to the radio which is set above the fridge you push the red button and the noise stops. It’s so silent. You are alone. There is nobody else in this house. What a relief. You take the cup and move upstairs to your room.
Once arrived you set carefully your hot beverage on the table. You’ve become cautious with drinks, you really don’t feel like making this morning even worse by spilling anything. You turn on your laptop, you check all the usual websites. Nothing much seems to be going on. You put on some instrumental music “Ezio Bosso: Rain, In Your Black Eyes”, take your first sip of your powdery cappuccino, it’s still hot. So you decide to let it cool off, meanwhile you watch a video. It’s a family you recently discovered on Youtube that lives in a school bus with their two toddlers and one recent newborn. It’s astonishing to you how they handle them and enjoy the process. All the screams and cries and mess, they seem to have gotten used to that. Good for them, then you remember how you once dreamed of a life similar to theirs. Well, except the living in the bus part. Having a wife, and a child to care for. Having someone to love and share that love unconditionally with. You think back of the times you used to dream of that and it’s just crazy how much you have changed. Your views, your life became an unbearable struggle, bringing human life into it seems too much for you. Nevertheless, you admire those who do. Even though you don’t want the same.
You drink the remains of the lukewarm cappuccino. Today you have to go to the university, you got an exam to pass. You laugh inside because you remember how worried and stressful you once were about your grades and passing. Now it all is just another thing you need to do. Why? Because that’s what you are supposed to do. You are not prepared for the exam, not fully. But you will manage, your “not giving a fuck” attitude seems to have taken a great toll on you. You don’t give a fuck either way.
You start putting on your jeans and a sweater. You hate this process, getting ready to leave the house is tiring. You get your earbuds, pull them under your sweater and connect them to your phone. Whilst you’re walking to the bus station you might as well enjoy some tunes. You realize how much you love music, it’s saved you countless times. Best thing ever. Besides books, movies, TV shows and amateur writing of course. You put your backpack on, same one your brother gifted you like 8 years ago. It’s still good, American quality. You put on your boots and coat. Earbuds in, playlist selected, volume adjusted. You can leave your dungeon. It’s slowly snowing, everything’s so white around. It makes you squint, you hate when it’s light. It is also cold so you keep your hands inside your coat’s pockets.
You can’t hear a thing of what is happening around you, only the music that is blasting in your ears. You can hear yourself breathing, and you wonder if you’re making any noise and whether people can hear you. You get one earbud out and listen to yourself, no your breathing is not heavy. Normal breaths, normal. You put the earbud back but still you hear those breaths you inhale and exhale. You go through the same road, same route. You keep turning your head back to see if any car is approaching. You can’t hear your surroundings so you do that to stay safe in case a car drives by. Although, do you really want to be safe? You just don’t want to die hit by a car. Stupid death. Just imagine the news headlines: A twenty-something year old hit dead by a car while listening to music. The student was unaware of his surroundings, his earbuds prevented him to hear the panicking driver who lost control of his car. The driver told our correspondents that he kept honking in despair to the young fellow but it was pointless. Just astonishing. Moving on, in our next news — a giraffe escaped the ZOO…
No worries, you do get to the bus station and take the seat in the back. You pay your fair and just look the entire time mostly out of the window. You catch glimpse of some passengers staring at you but you couldn’t care less. You’ve cared too much before. You go on about your life, this moment. You think of how this day has not yet fully begun and yet you already wish for it to be over. But you know you will wish the same the next day, and the one after that. You just want them to go, let them pass, let them drown you. All these people going about their lives. Sad faces, looking preoccupied, consumed by all the fuss of being someone. You remembered this quote you read the other day — “the same sea we’re drowning in is the same sea we were born into.” Couldn’t have said it better.
You get to your final stop and get out of the bus and keep going. You just look at the road you have walked for so many times, different faces, but same path. You are not in a hurry, one step after another. You will get there, sooner or later, you will. A colleague of yours pats you on the back and is obviously in a hurry to not be late for the exam. He calls you to follow him and move faster. You think in your mind “Fuck you. I will do as I wish.” You don’t tell him that, sometimes you wish you did. Sometimes you wish you could be more open and tell it the way you see things. That death sometimes is tempting. Although scary. Although real and inevitable. That you’re scared and lost, empty and alone for the most part. But yet, you don’t think someone else can fix you or this. Only you, it’s solely your responsibility, it’s on you. And this life is yours, but it seems sometimes as if it really isn’t. There is so much more and there is only you. But you do tell your classmate that if he is in a hurry he can be on his way, you just want to take a walk. So he goes on and you wait at the pedestrian crossing, waiting for the timer on the screen to go to zero. You wait for red to turn green. It eventually does, seconds have slipped by and you have resumed your way. You pass by a stand with some flyers which read “It’s not too late to be saved” or something like that. It makes you grin, humanity is looking to be saved. Somehow you don’t want to be saved, nor do you want eternity, nor do you want afterlife. All you want is to be able to enjoy what you have, but can’t. Keep your saving to yourself.
You move on and finally reach the university. You go to the classroom you were supposed to meet in and you start the test. You do what needs to be done, you are the first to be questioned. You’re bored. In the back of your mind all you want is to be fucking done and get the hell out of that shithole. Your teacher asks you about some politics and to name some politicians and political parties. You don’t know anything, and so you tell her that. She is shocked — “But you’re a future journalist! How can you not be informed about these personalities?” You tell as frank and as politely as you can that you don’t like politics, you don’t watch it, you couldn’t give two cents about any of that. “Fuck politics and fuck those greedy suckers. Fuck television.” You didn’t say that to her, but that’s what you thought. You get your grade, exam passed, time to get out and so you do. You’re free. Freedom is slavery — says Orwell. No, you’re not free, you know that. There is a physical prison and an inner one, sometimes you think that if you are not physically imprisoned there is no way out of the prison that is in your head. And sometimes it feels like being a prisoner in your head is far worse. But you can’t be sure. Our destruction and downfall is at every corner, it just waits patiently for the right moment to come and shatter us.
You take the same bus to home, this time it’s more packed. Everyone’s going home, ready to enjoy their evening in front of the TV. Laying around, doing nothing for they have done most of what they could serving some corporate pigs. They say there is no slavery today, you say they have changed the notions of what slavery means. Again you watch these tired humans, numb faces, darkness consumed us all. A veil of silence covers the entire bus. Everyone’s sitting in the chairs with their smartphones, light blasting from those screens. Small rectangles that control our lives. You’re so done, you can’t believe it. Every single person is staring into their phones. Technology, sometimes you love it, but sometimes you think it’s the worst humanity got.
You arrive at the final station and get back on your way to home, walking and breathing in that cold, fresh air. You hear the squeaky noises your shoes make whilst taking steps through the slushy snow. You remember walking down this road with your brother countless times. When you were much younger he used to pull you on the sleigh. The laughs, the joy of being a child untouched by the realities of the world. The innocence we all eventually lose.Those moments seem so distant, for they might not even have happened, because those images seem so vague in your memory. It’s been a long time. You miss that, your childhood. Although you had bad things happen to you, you also had some good things.
You eventually arrive home. It’s so dark, but you don’t turn the lights on. You go through the darkness. Your hands in front of you just so that you stay safe from stumbling into something. But you already instinctively know what is where and easily get to the bathroom. You wash your hands and splash some water onto your face. You move your still wet hands through your hair. You feel drops rolling down your face, down to your chin. And so you stand with both your hands by your side in the complete darkness of the room. You seem to hear your heartbeat, shallow breaths, and you just wonder how much longer will this life go like that.
You go to your room and dress into your usual clothes and go grab something to eat. You are not pretentious when it comes to food, so whatever catches your eye is good enough. You eat your food hastily, you have not eaten anything today. But now you did eat, and it’s been taken care of. You go back to your room and spend the rest 4 hours you have doing trivial tasks. Consumed by videos on the internet, articles, researching new movies that came out. You do some reading but you just can’t seem to get into it after half an hour of dozing in and out. You can’t concentrate, so you decide you will end the evening by watching some episodes from your favorite TV show. You go to the bedroom, lie on the bed and with the laptop right in front, you start watching it. After it’s done and you decide you better go to sleep now so you can wake up easier tomorrow. You refrain yourself from spending any more time on the laptop, so you just close it. You get into bed and move the pillow besides you. You hate pillows. And you just stare into the ceiling, you look around the room and distinguish objects that seem dead with the night. You are by yourself, in this cold dark night. You worry about the past and the future. You tend to think of how this day passed, how it all gets lost in the vastness of all these years. How nothing you did today actually mattered, but how at the same time it really shouldn’t. You dreamed once to become someone, but then the part of becoming and being someone started to seem irrelevant. Life sometimes seems to you irrelevant. Feelings do too. Thinking. Accomplishing. All irrelevant. But yet necessary, to keep on going another day. You have no idea where you’re headed, being lost is not strange to you, being lonely is not strange to you. Leaving a happy life does seem strange to you. And so you ponder how much struggling can you go through. You are tired, you don’t desire the next day, not really. But you close your eyes, and go through past memories, you create new ones, you live your illusion. Which doesn’t seem any different from the real life, it’s still your imagination, your vision. Eventually you drift away and lose consciousness of your body, for you are not aware of what happens when you are not awake. The darkness swallows everyone, some just choose to ignore it, you chose not to.