It was a day like any other in this slow summer. He had just started to wind down from an interesting Friday. A friend called, but he really wasn’t in the mood to go out. “That’s fine, but listen: I’m coming round in a bit and we’ll go grab a beer somewhere.” Alright then, he thought and carried on with doing nothing of worth. The flat looked dirty and unorganised. After all he had moved in a couple of weeks ago and not all of the furniture had been bought yet. It’s alright, he thought again, because I’m the only one who sees this.
He did not understand how he ended up there in the first place. A place he swore he’d never visit again. But, apparently, it happened nonetheless. The same friends, the same issues, the same outcomes. History repeating itself. Trapped in limbo. He asked himself how to move on, but he already knew the answer: “The tricky part is to leave before the lights are switched back on and the music stops,” he said earlier. “If you can’t leave then you are prone to repeat your life over and over and over again.”
What could possibly go wrong? What may be alright? What if it’s not worth the time? All these questions race through my head, but they are just noise at an unreasonable volume. Okay, that may be an understatement. It burns so bad I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to look. Which way to turn or even which toothpaste I should buy. My mind is racing, but there is no finish line. Seriously, if I didn’t know better I’d say I’m going crazy. Am I overly stressed? Sure, but it’s not that at all.
‘Seriously, I am not sure what’s wrong with me,’ he said while staring into the void beside me. A pause ensued, then I added: ‘I’d say you are perfectly normal, but most people don’t realise just that. It’s a curse. You’ll always find some condition that fits your current symptoms, but you will never be completely satisfied with the answer. Think about it another way — most conditions make your mind’s eye invisible to the underlying cause or negative behavioural patterns. You can’t work on it; you don’t even know it’s there. Now, you are treading the realm just outside of your comfort zone. The first step in making any change in your life. It’s scary. It’s dark. It’s weird, but it is just what you make of it. It’s a gift. The gift given to you to grow, to be deeply connect to the emotional fabric of our existence. Nobody cares if you like it or not. Deal with it.’
From the few emotions that I gather, I start to grow more and more confused. Actually it’s the clarity and carelessness that confuses me. Almost always, a foreign city brings up emotions in their purest form. I stare out the hotel room window into the dark void that’s being highlighted by countless lights and looming shapes against the dimmed sky. Cars as small as matchboxes, only distinguishable via their lights, move in predefined bends and straight lines. It feels like something is happening on the outside, but I’m perfectly content with looking at it from a distance.
Our home is empty. The walls where our young and grinning faces covered the void came down today. I felt a sudden pinch in my stomach, but couldn’t quite understand it. I smiled and reassured myself that it’s simply another step that we both must take. I did not then realise that I was wrong.