I stare at the screen. The screen stares back. Not at me. But at the screens behind me. Craning its neck. I block its view. And it hates me for that. I know who it’s friends with. They are all so full of it.
My slit eyes size up the chat messenger. This is one messenger I would kill. But it lies smug and warm. Unblinking. Unwavering. Firm in its resolve and definite in its purpose. My taut fingers are poised. Ready to speak their mind. Cold, hard focus.
The messenger makes the first move.
“Good morning Rakesh!”
That’s how they begin my days. Labelling them for me.
And I, in turn, label it back for them.
I confirm. Willingly.
Who are you to judge how good or bad it is going to be?
Why don’t you just let it unfold?
The morning. It just is.
Why do you have to serve it?
Who are you to bubble wrap it tightly, pull at its corners, force a grin on its solemn face?
Who asked you to condense it, contain it?
But no. You have to shove it down everyone’s throat.
You prance in, drooling sickly sweet sticky nothings all over.
You smear my mornings with it.
It’s happening again. Get a grip. Don’t go deep.
Have I come too far along?
Can’t I turn back now?
Is this all that is left of my calling?
Is this where I spend the rest of my days?
I watch as the last rays of a dying sun cling desperately at those skyscrapers.
I hear the perfectly manicured nails of those light shafts screeching the hard steel.
Darkness envelops me. The single circle of spotlight contracts itself.
There is just a lonely ray of light gushing in through that one crevice.
Dust particles flit in and out of it. They no longer dance.
They just settle.
Like everything else has.
Hovering at times.
Never quite taking off.
No more glorious flights.
Predictable days. Routine nights.
Open spaces trap me now.
Glowing warmth of cat videos.
Reruns of pleasantries.
They are my medication.
That’s what the doctor ordered. For everyone.
But I need a fix. I need my rush. I need my kick.
So I give myself marching orders.
I go to war. With my thoughts. To my dreams. For myself.
But the battlefield is empty.
The enemy is long gone.
There’s no one left to fight.
But I need to. I have to fight. Give me someone. Something. Anything.
A distraction. An indulgence. A mindless repetitive routine even.
Just throw them at me. I will dive head first in them.
I will drink them in. I will them wolf them down.
Only to dwell upon my thoughts later.
I will curse myself for giving in. I will promise myself to resist them.
But I will give in again. Till I develop a craving for licking my wounds.
That’s a fine purpose.
Perpetual self improvement.
Go back two steps. Go forth one.
The mirage of progress.
Give me something to fight for. Something. Anything.
I reach out to that single thin ray of light.
I try to make the dust particles dance.
But they refuse to.
Did they ever or am I blind to them now?
I don’t think they ever did.
I was the fool jumping around them.
But now, I am all wised up.
And like them, I will safely settle.
And so I settle. Safely.
I crouch. Mumbling curses and faking shivers.
A fatal fetal.
I inject tranquilized thoughts.
I dispense. I receive.
Words elude me.
Ironical — you say.
Unstructured ramblings don’t count — I snap back.
Yet sometimes, thoughts line up at the door of my mind. All decked up to give form.
They knock. A creature shifts uneasily in a dark corner.
Soft padded footsteps gain speed.
It leaps out from everywhere.
I see it — it is leashed. It is muzzled. It is chained.
But it growls and howls and grunts and snarls.
The meek thoughts flee. The roaring creature prances in the open. Furiously.
Drooling sickly sweet sticky nothings.
Sticky nothings that seep in the corners of my mind, wobble and slime over my thoughts, and drip down to the roof of my mouth. The bad taste lingers. I can’t do anything but spit out this venom, one enthusiastic greeting at a time.
“Rakesh — you there?”
“Yes, yes — I am here. How are you sir? A very good morning to you too! Hope you had an awesome weekend! Have a great day ahead!”
I fucking hate that exclamation mark!