But I can float too, and I don’t ask for much from you But maybe that’s too much, too soon
Tonight, it ends.
I have stowed enough resolve to see this through.
I’m tired of these demons that haunt my every waking moment of existence.
The air was chilly, on November night not so different from most. Tonight was another late night back on the metro. The train cart was bright and empty, as I purposely dawdled at work to avoid the rush-hour congestion. Most people drove home or rode the train back to their nearby expensive apartments (nearby being 10 minutes without traffic, and 40 minutes at peak rush hour) straight after work: I made my life difficult, and had no such luxury. In an effort to save money on rent and avoiding driving (my commute would have been 45 minutes without traffic, so with it…), I walked 15 minutes to the nearest bus stop going north, rode on two buses (one interchange at the midway point) for around 90 minutes, then rode the last leg of the trip on the metro to a busltling business center. And at first, it was fun. Two whole to read books! Listen to podcasts! Play videogames! Each way! This sounds amazing, and for only $20 a day! What a steal. I can’t wait to live the rest of my life like this.
Thinking back on it now, the naviety was mind-crushing. Eventually the stress of work combined with the long hours on the road got to me, as it would any rational human being. The books stopped being interesting. The podcasts stopped being innovative. The games stopped being fun. As I intentionally dawdled at work, everyone else around my age was getting on with their lives. Some were going out to eat and drink, I didn’t do that because I thought it was a waste of money. Some worked out their sore bodies at the gym, but I excused myself from the activity because there was no way in heck I would carry more clothes than I needed to for a daily 4 hour commute. Some found companionships in others, but I was such a hopeless wreck from work that I could barely keep myself together. The only time I felt like I was at peace was when I finally was in bed after a long day at work and on the road. I would sleep for just a brief moment, and the stress of the grind would stab my senses into conciouness as the morning alarm bell rang. I cried into my pillow, hopelessly victim to the lifestyle called adulthood. Everyday I asked myself what this was for. I could never come up with a satisfactory answer.
The other reason I was without car was for my sister. Unbeknownst to my younger self at the time, my family was poor. We were always in debt in subscription of the country’s dream, and I remember minimizing the amount of trips I ever left the house in order to not burden my mom or dad. For the longest time, we only had one car. After what seemed like a decade, we finally got another. When I was in my furst summer after college, I saved up enough money to buy my own car. It was rickety old thing, defintely not something I could flaunt to the ladies and impress them, but it was my car. I could finally stop being a burden to my parents.
Then came the kicker. My younger sister was starting high school, and she was selected to go to a special school that required a special bus to attend. The bus came early in the mornign as the drive to the school was long, and the bus would also pick up other out-of-the-way kids, quadrupling the expected time to commute to school. I remember hating how I had to take this bus everyday to and from school, but I kept my mouse shut to appreciate I could even have the chance to attend a prestigious school at all. The prestige was necessary if I wanted to surive in the cuttthroat world known as college application. I remember being envious of the kids at school who all had their own cars, coming into school on their time, socializing to their own personal degree, and leaving at the freedom of their own wheels, not the one-check-and-we-leave public school bus that took what felt like years to get me home. I was always the first to pick up and the last to drop off, the amount of time on that bus felt mind-numbing. When I noticed my parents getting up early and having to re-arrange their schedules to take my sister to and from school, I decided. Through some internet sleuthing, I found a path to get me from my house to my workplace without anyone else’s help. The journey was long and fractured, and certaintly not as cheap as filling up gas every week, but I had decided that I could do better for my sister than what I was given. Given her the keys to my old rickety rush bucket, her eyes gleamed with joyed knowing what I truly handed her: her time back as freedom to explore her youth.
It had just been 9 months since I started working at my new job. I had watched the seasons change through the outside of that empty train cart, and the sunny days of summer had subsised to the tiding of fall and the onset of winter nights. As the metro traveled through the city and to the outskirts where my bus station was, I never saw a single star in the sky. Light pollution, some would call it, but I call it a testmanent to humanity’s greed and ego. Playing God in some senses to extended the day into the night via aritucal lighting and energy consumption, challenging the sun for being insufficient. As the season changed, so did the amount of clothing I wore to stave off the grawing cold. As the light changed, so did the internal workings of my soul. When the afternoon sky turned into dusk and finally night, I felt myself peeling away. The empty night sky signified nothing, emptiness, the void. Every day became numbing, and I was just barely floating on in the sea of exhausation, frustration, and lonliness. It never felt like I was getting to tomorrow.
Then I had met her.
She was my first friend I made in the office, a young girl my age starting at the same time I did. We were both humbled and overwhelmed the first step into adult hood and corporate life, and we relied on each for quite a bit at the beginning just to get the motions going. I wasn’t sure what to think of her at the time, because I was still so naive and full of hope when I started. What started out as simple friendship became something worse: an obsession that dragged me to the depths of my worst nature.
Everyday the mental toll of the stress of work, the stress of the commute, and the hopeless lonely environment I had inadventrely committed myself to turned me into a tightly wound and unstable person. People would ask me how I was doign every, as what always the courttesy of office small talk, and I would smile and nod say that I was just getting by. But undernearth I was unfurling, unstable, tightly wound and ready to burst. As I was in public places all day and lived in a small house with thin walls, I never had a chance to scream. It’s honestly a miracle I kept myself together at all.
As I began to derail more and more, I inadventrely distanced myself from all that I was on good terms with. I would stop grabbing lunch, taking breaks, or even allowing myself to chit-chat idly. I was stuck in a position with too much more, no mentors, and constantly berated by an underqualified manager at the terrible nature of my work. Despite all this, she still wanted to be friends with me. Maybe I was a great actor. Maybe she secrely observed and understood my facade and tried to ease it in whatever small way she could. Maybe she was just hopelessly nice and wanted to be on good terms with everyone. Whatever the reason, her smile let me forget myself in the anger, frustation, and hopelness I had found myself drifing into. In that smile grew my personal salvation, and in that personal salvation grew unwildy obession.
Despite her kindness, she had no interest in me or anyone else in being anything but friends. But as the only female in a den of hyneas with out young lads my age, the challenge would be posed to her time and again. She hated it. She just wanted to be friends with everyone, she wasn’t looking for anything serious as she was trying to focus on other aspects of her life. She would sit at the lunch ttable and vent how much she detested being a moderately-attractive female in the corporate world. She was never sure if people were nice to her because they geuiniely liked her, or for altenative reasons. I smiled and nodded along, promising that I would never be one of those yahoos. And in that reassuring smile she returned upon my promise grew my salvation. My persronal salvation that would become my unwiedly obsession.
I don’t remember what much of what happened between the promise and this chilly November night. I vaugely remember my headaches getting worse, my sleep becoming unsound, and the vision of her smile burned into the forefront of my mind. It was pain, like knowing the truth yet waiting to defy it all the same. I found part of myself primally getting angry when she would speak to any others as if I was her keeper, and the diminishing rational side of me reeling in horror at the monster I was becoming. I remember at one point making a point to attend the church I had long left ago in a past life. I remember getting on my knees, even bowing to my head with tears streaming out my face for someone, anyone to save me from myself. I was barely concious of tomorrow, and now I was getting trapped in yesterday too.
I was immature, and figured there was only one way out of this contract.
The undefiable. The truth.
If I just asked her out and was rebuffed then and there, I would know. I would dwindle on this any longer, and I could finally focus on other efforts (foolish of me to believe when I had nothing else to belief in). So I listed to that sad love song one more on the last leg ot the train ride, and stepped off.
“Hey, are you free for a quick call?” I texted. A small light emerged on my smartphone, signified her reply.
“Sure, but this is unusual. What would you like to chat about?”
I picked up the phone and dialed her number. I don’t remember much of the words of my conversation, but I made my intent clear. I had rehearsed this hundreds of times in my head before this encounter, and suprisingly even to myself, I held to it (or maybe it was the adrenaline, I had never asked for feedback). And unsurprisingly to me (and comepletely taken aback by her), she rebuffed me. I thank her for being courtenous and blunt, and hung up.
The chilly November aired condensed when I breated in front of me. Noticing where I was, the empty train lot leading to the bus lot was eerily more looming than usual. It took me only a moment to realize what I had actually committed to. Now waiting for the ghost bus back home, I was truly alone.
The days clawed on, and they become worse than I could ever imagine. The girl that had once called me her friend couldn’t look me in the eye anymore. The promise I had made long ago had been shattered, and with it, all semblance of trust. Her discomft around me became painfully evident, and since almost all of my office mates had loved her smile and kind nature, they went along with her. But worse than the isolation and the consiquentual ostracization was the shatter in belief of myself. I always thought of myself as a moral uprighteous being, who would do nothing to ever cross my own lines self-restraint. And for just a moment, I faltered. And everything fell apart.
Winter came, and when winter left, I stayed. The world remained in shades of black, grey, and white, and I had nothing to look forward to anymore. The senses that had barely excited me had now all left. Even the foods I used to adored tasted dull and bland, so I stopped eating. Deeper into the void I fell, and continued to float, but for a reason beyond comprehension. I had nothing left, and quietly I sat in that void, never moving, never speaking, never looking up or around. And in that void I waited, for a tomorrow that was never coming.
And yeah, that’s all of it I gave up my youth for this ‘cause I wanted it, and…
Today’s word count: 2244 words
Total word count until today: 22,007 words
@mariasokolowska @michellebasey @sabweld @philkastelic @nicolaworley @ParisaR @sydneydobersteinlarock @wildcat @dragon @homeroom11