I am in a computer lab for Multi-national Communications 105. The professor is speaking about something and I am watching the mouse cursor make a Ouija board drift across the screen. If I focus on my nostrils I smell the tropical scent bodywash of the porcelain legs in the seat beside me. I don’t know her name. What I do know is an image in my head of those legs forming a fleshy crescent with her pout buttcheeks. I hold the image in my head but it has no meaning or tumescent effects – an anhedonic thought. I try not to look at people because of the constant sensation of being judged. I wish it weren’t a gorgeous Spring day because then I could put on my sweater, cross my arms and enjoy the warm fabric of this computer lab swivel chair.
I am in Metronomic Psychology 101 and the desk is too small, caricature of over-grown adult in kindergarten. I am trying to take notes but the professor’s voice has decompressed into Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice and the chalkboard is too far away to see the hieroglyphs.
At night in bed my heart is a percussive staccato. I am excited to do something but there is nothing to do because it is 1 2 3 4 in the morning and the excitement is vapid. It is a wasted load. I want to be doing something but I have nothing to be doing and these are the eager maggots crawling beneath the scalp of vague dreams. I spend the hours between my classes appeasing exhaustion. Daylight vituperative in my bedroom windows but I have my TV off, no more Reality TV I am reading because I have life goals and two pages in is when my eyelids become lead curtains I can’t hold open – sleep is an irreality of dreams indiscernible from life; I am daily restarting conversations I’ve never begun, apologizing for injustices I haven’t committed.
I am spending increasing amounts of class time sitting in bathroom stalls wondering why the proximity of other human beings feels like judgemental penetration of my fleshy inner-self.
I waste time between Micromanaging 203 and Consumer Success 501. I take the long way thrice around campus. I am staring at a bulletin board on the campus green and the fliers and notices are posted thus:
Lost Cat. Lost Dog. The Bachelorette Season Finale Party. Guitar For Sale. Easel For Sale. Melancholics Anonymous. Nihilist Support Group – Help Us Find Ourselves. Childhood Dream Curbside Sale – Take Everything You Can. Help Save Indigenous Possums In Sao Paolo.
There are meaty crows in the tree overhead and they are eating the baby birds that didn’t fly in time. I know nothing of their experiences. Campus is empty because the 3:15 classes began 10 minutes ago. I am gilded by the decadence of afternoon sleep.
I have been a Geology Major. A Philosophy Major. A Journalism Major with a focus on Photography. I am a Marketing Major.
I have been dumped from the high school conveyor belt into the collegiate funnel and I was even allowed to decide my major. I will in ten years be making $80,000 annually because I wisely chose Marketing instead of Journalism. My conveyor belt is set to deposit new Acuras and a fully furnished starter-home in an upscale sub-division by the time I’m 27. All I have to do is sit at my desk. Sit at my desk. Sit at my desk. Sit at my desk.
It is 2pm and I am in bed reading Techniques of Modern Photography to feel productive. I have read two pages and the sentences blur again into the irreality of deep, irresistible sleep.
Stay at my desk and happiness will be delivered.
I am back-sprawled on my bed. I am naked. It is Thurs or Fri or Sat and there hasn’t been hunger or thirst or lust or exhaustion in 2 or 3 or 4 days. I am staring at my ceiling. Stare at a single point long enough and the patterns take new forms – I am staring at a large Newton’s Cradle, four big silver balls clinking one off of the right, one off of the left. It is sometime between sunrise and sunset.
It is dark in my room but in my peripheries I can make out the darker forms of my desk, flat screen, laptop, PS3, dresser, closet full of clothes, shoe rack. And for some time now these darker forms have been evaporating with a slow, frothy hiss, evaporating up into the walls, depressurizing, the shadows of my material possessions creeping up the walls and as this evaporation spreads it leaves behind a pristine darkness, immaculate and speckled with a million points of shimmering blue.
There is nothing but the vastness and the stars. I feel only the heaviness of my own body – there is no pressure, no thing to act against and I cannot be sure if I am moving or in any meaningful way exist. The stars are too far to give perspective. There is nothing horrible about this. I can exist here in perpetuity and never physically suffer because I know that all I have to do is reach out to take a handful of stars, and what is so profoundly wrecking is the knowledge that it would all be pointless, because my mouth is already full.