It still feels like 2016. It still feels like the most important year of my life. It still feels like the end of my childhood. I still want to talk to him. It’s driving me mad it is it is it is. I still want to talk to him and I’m wondering why I am sitting here not talking to him and talking to this person and to that person and enjoying my life but still but still still weeks and months and security lost later still wanting to talk to him. Still thinking about him constantly. Consistently? Repeatedly. Reminded. Still wishing him well in my head in my head always in my head and waiting waiting waiting for him to tell me for him to reach out to me and tell me he’s doing well and tell me he felt my well wishes and tell me he held that feeling in a place in his heart until it warmed him until it cleared away cobwebs until it helped him realize he could be doing well because someone wants too much so much so badly so desperately for him to be alright – more than alright: wonderfully – because he is wonderful and I am terrific and I am doing terrifically as I sit here sit here sit here and think always thinking always thinking about him and wondering what he’s doing and hoping it’s well – more than well: wonderfully. Because he is wonderful and I am terrific and I am happy now but still so sad. So sad but happy with myself. So satisfied but wanting more. So conflicted but existing peacefully in so many states. I don’t know what I want right now because I want nothing I want something I want someone but I’m not as caught up in my emotions as I used to be. I let them flutter let them fall watching them as they crash to the floor like a teardrop like the loudest scream like the silence that rings out as time stops having meaning. I do miss the feeling of being passionately in love with a person who exists like a concept – like more than just an individual with individual problems and insecurities and interests and dislikes – both external and internal and expanding – expanding and filling the chest I leaned my head on and felt so very much in love with so very much in love with a person like a concept like a too-good-to-be-true like a Form. The chest with the message printed on it – the reminder to live the best life possible – the reminder that this will all end and you will see it in slow motion as it ends before your eyes and just out of the reaches of your grip – a reminder of a dream a twenty-two year old had and was fighting every day to turn into a reality to turn a concept to a proof. The constant struggle of self-definition that is classified by experts as anxiety. The constant struggle of being too in a head too in a head too in a head where else does one go where else is there where else could I be? Explained external complaints becoming. I’ll hold them deeply and let them devour me. I’ll change the subject: I’ll make it all about me. He’ll hold them deeply and let them devour him. It’s all about me as I sit here and I think about what it’s like for it to be all about someone else for someone else who is making their own decisions based on all the information they are able to contain all that they can bear to bear witness to to carry to be burdened with. It is difficult to live with your eyes open. I’ve turned a blind one a few times a few times maybe too many but it’s all relative based on other outcomes of other choices that I will never be able to choose because time is linear and this is my path. I’ve turned blind eyes I’ve ignored what is obvious. It’s fear it’s all fear and I’m terrified and terrible and taking turns to shaded places where it’s too dark too dark far too dark to see. A blind eye in a dark room in the isolation of a mind a mind inside of a head that is too active too panicked too scared to believe that there is more outside. More than a concept in a head leaning on a dream written on a chest.
The plan is to live in Chicago, then Denver, then San Francisco, and then Seattle, as a way to be both young professional and nomad through the remainder of my 20s. The plan is to move back to Philadelphia to reduce the stress of starting over in another new city. The plan is to stay at my current job and save as much money as possible so I have the freedom to start over someplace new sometime soon without having to find another job in my current field. The plan is to apply to jobs in my current field to give me a reason to move to a new place. The plan is to decorate my apartment so it feels like a home and not a temporary storage space. The plan is to get a part-time job that pays just enough to cover bills and gives me experiences to write about. The plan is to pay off my student loans as quickly as possible so that I can reasonably be unemployed and focus on writing or photography or starting a business or some other thing I feel too weighed down to take seriously as this point in my life. The plan is to quit drinking because drinking costs too much money and is not entertaining enough. The plan is to stay single and make friends and have fun with those friends. The plan is to go out and meet someone I can eventually marry and do the whole parenthood thing with. The plan is to take life day by day and see which changes come because changes will come, but they will not come all at once. The plan is made up of contradictions. The plan is a source of anxiety. The plan depends on only me.
It starts. I wake up with a blank day before me. I try to speed it up with caffeine. Green tea. A choice I make so many days in a row that it can hardly still be considered a choice, but an act of normalcy. An attempt to have a pattern, rather than chaos. An attempt at a plan, rather than the quenching of a thirst. Water in a pot. Pot on a stove. A flame click click clicking on. A transfer of energy to heat the solution that will extract caffeine from leaves into a potable liquid for a second transfer of energy.
I brush my teeth, likely too hard. I think about gum health. I think about losing my teeth. I hear it’s a common theme in dreams. It’s not for me, but one day it might happen in my waking life. Might. Possibly. A latent fear, and one I may be causing by combating by doing too much incorrectly. I’ve always been conscious of my dental hygiene, but I don’t think I have very healthy teeth regardless. I won’t know what I should have done my entire life until it’s too late.
Quincy is meowing. One of his eyes is half closed. He woke up when I did, and is confused about how to start his day as well. A series of morning meows is his pattern. It’s how he controls his life’s tiny chaos. I control mine by pouring boiling water into a cast iron tea pot. Teavana brand. It feels artificial to me. Some kind of modern interpretation of an object with a purpose. Some kind of modern interpretation of my life’s plight: everything is exactly as it appears, but nothing has any meaning. I put the lid on my teapot so that condensation collections and rains over the tea again, as a way of strengthening. As a way of putting my knowledge of chemical engineering to use.
I wait. I try to wait. I turn on my computer. Mad Men is already paused, also waiting. I click play. I watch for a minute. I click pause. The tea should be good enough. I fill the chamber with too many leaves so I don’t have to steep them as long. This is how extractions work, although this may not be how the perfect cup of tea is brewed. But this is Cleveland, and I’m not trying to impress the queen. I pour tea into a white mug stained on the inside with tea, and on the outside with paint. I wonder how many chemicals make their way into my body daily, and how they are slowly or quickly poisoning me. I won’t know this until it’s too late either. Old age feels like a series of failures that could be avoided, if only we could see the future.
I walk back to the computer with tea in mug in hand. I light a joint. Puff puff, check my phone. No one’s ringing, but I’m answering. I sit in my chair incorrectly. I broke it not too long ago, but was able to repair it. I am now more aware of when I am sitting incorrectly in my chair, although my actual seated behavior has changed little if at all. I unpause Mad Men. I try to focus on the subtleties of the actors’ faces as they explain to me what it meant to be alive in the 1960s. I will never know what it meant to be alive in the 1960s. I sip my tea. I smoke my joint. I grow bored of the morning and all of its possibilities. I grow bored of 2017 and 1967 simultaneously: half a century reduced to banality in the eyes of a stoned 25 year old on a Saturday morning.
The sun is out. The cats meow to worship it. I open the back door, leaving the screen shut, so they can appreciate sun rays and a cool breeze from inside. Birds chirp. Cat eyes fueled by instinct follow. They meow understanding better than I do, how important it is to trust instinct. I don’t. I stay inside. Outside there are people. They might talk to me, or even worse, they might not. I stay inside. I check my phone. 9:15 am. No one’s there yet. Hours later, I assume I’ll hear from someone or someone else who has just waken up to see the start of the afternoon. That is not now. Now, we wait. We watch for chirping birds and think about how strong the desire is to pounce.
an attempt to be in a moment in a moment that is passing at present in the present in an instant not wasting time not wasting now. an attempt to be in a moment in a moment becoming past remaining concentrating on present actions present rest. at attempt to be in a moment but thought fluttering to the future to later just some hours just some point later today. an attempt to be in a moment but i am waiting to answer a text i am waiting to have a meeting i am waiting to get more work i am waiting to have something to do in the present other than write about an attempt to be in a moment because in this moment i am not focused on anything other than my attempt at being in this moment and in a way that is being in a metamoment which is kind of sort of maybe worse than not being active in a moment because it is actively talking about trying to be active in a moment without actually being in that moment or doing the things i should be doing at this present point in time. the present is the only time that exists outside of memory and assumption yet past and future are more often discussed. to talk about the present is to talk about current actions which is not done not really which is kind of strange yet makes perfect sense if present time is only truly present when shrunk down to infinitesimal beats approaching nothings.
I watch the world through the front window of my first floor apartment on a one way street. I watch cars drive by and people walk and I know not where they’re going, but where they have momentarily been. I see sunlight bend and change directions with the lightening and darkening of days. I see trees bloom and shed leaves, snow fall and melt, and neighbors come and go and get replaced.
I watch the world through the front window of my first floor apartment on a one way street, and the background shifts slightly, but there is no plot. I hear voices having conversations, but they’re reduced to misplaced mumbles. I hear rain falling, but inside I stay dry. I hear the wind blowing and the clinking of chimes, but the air around me is still save for the tiny gusts of breathy sighs.
I watch the world through the front window of my first floor apartment on a one way street, through half-closed blinds to secure the required privacy of fear. Inside two kittens sit perched on windows ledges, and they watch the world from my same perspective as I watch them long for the outdoors. Inside plants grow in indirect light and I feed them tap water and watch them as they wither. Inside I watch the world through the front window of my first floor apartment on a one way street.
You tell me you are blank. You are the absence of thought. You are a vessel potentially purpose-serving, but tucked away for future use. I’ve been there – I am there – a lot of the time – too much? I’ve been there, or I’ve been somewhere that, at least (I think), is similar. What remains is the anxiety of not having much to be anxious about. What remains is the fear of doing too little; of falling behind; of responsibilities sliding unintentionally by. Tomorrow’s problems are tomorrow’s, although we could handle them right now (ambition is a creeping constant – always readying its sails). Tomorrow’s problems are tomorrow’s, but they’re disguised as the worries of today, because today is simple – it’s easy – although it’s never fancy-free. I’ve been there, I’ve been now – resenting repressing an itch for unwanted unneeded responsibilities. But today is simple – it’s easy – take a second hour day: enjoy its full duration. Just remember (and remind me) to breathe.
I am so very tired of thinking, but I can’t turn off my brain (I’ve tried). I am so very tired of thinking, but to not think would be to give up on moving forward, because moving forward requires some thought, I think. Moving forward with time (keeping slightly constant the other three observable dimensions) is a possibility, but problems pile up without at least some planning. I am so very tired of thinking, and it’s probably because I have too much time alone to think, but to not have time alone to think requires other people’s presences, and I do not have easy access to those – at least not in the personal way I want to access them. I am so very tired of thinking, because all of my thoughts these days are worries about failures and insufficiencies, although I have almost no concrete evidence of the reasons for my worries. If I lost my job today I would think, “that makes a lot of sense,” because I don’t feel like I am doing well at work because I am distracted, although I am still meeting deadlines and producing competent work. I am so very tired of thinking, and I feel like I am flailing, and I don’t understand how one could wave hello and then goodbye when I am motioning to be rescued. Maybe all attempts at human-to-human understanding are fundamentally flawed – and so why am I trying, and how could I think I am trying, and why am I angry or surprised that I failed you? I am so very tired of thinking the same thoughts that have lasted days and then weeks and now months. I am so very tired of thinking, and the world still turns on an axis and continues to make days turn to weeks turn to months turn to years turn to lifetimes lasting lifetimes. Whole lifetimes living stuck.