S talks about how he has always felt unlovable, and all I can wonder is, doesn’t everyone? Is it not normal to be so caught up in your own flaws, and be so insecure that all you can do is be constantly flabbergasted by the foolishness of everyone around you to care the way they do? To wait and wait for them to discover your true essense and leave you once and for all, so that you too can finally muster the courage to leave yourself.
I feel compelled to ask S in turn if he has ever felt like he was incapable of love. I think I was 13 when my father exclaimed I did not love anyone. And till date, I’m not sure what actually shook me then – was it a teenager internalising a parent’s words or simply reeling from the horror of having been found out? Did I already know it before I heard it? I cannot really say.
What do you do when you feel a sudden tightening of the chest, a dull ache in your heart, the unpleasant but familiar tide of overwhelming sadness starting to wash over you? In spite of the 300-odd numbers stored on my phone, I find myself incapable of thinking up a face to dial up. I wonder if adulthood is simply about moments like these – gasping for breath on bright sunny mornings when you don’t have anything to complain about really. Surfing through videos with an unread book by your side, afraid of the latter’s stillness that might force you to actually stop and think for a change.
When did I become afraid of thoughts? Was it at the point where I suddenly felt empty of epiphanies and found my mind floating in a debris of dead muses, reprises and nostalgia, living out a dream that happened a decade ago? Was it when I find myself reaching for the same songs, the same movies, the same redundant fuel that seems to feed an enlarging void? When I find myself seeking out someone else’s trivia to add a splash of colour to my grey slate? I feel like I’m in a play, acting out a role that has been done over and over, repeating the same lines, going through the same drama, gawking at the same familiar scenes day after day, year after year.
It is exhausting.
I feel like the tiny dinosaur on the computer screen, forced to run in an endless loop every time my mental network crashes. Over and over, faster and faster, jumping over every deadline thrown my way because of some innate fear of what it might feel like to crash into a cactus. Sometimes I’m saved when the signal picks up and it’s all sunflowers and bubbles and butterflies again. But mostly, it’s simply a two-dimensional black and white figure running to nowhere. No destination. No prizes. Not away from anything. Not towards anything. Just running…
And I’m tired of running.