I woke to a numbing calmness.
It was the third day, bland and sombre, just how I anticipated it. I wished there had been some kind of emotional undulation, nudging my still existence like a deft, peppy stone skipping the sea surface, forming creases, and disappearing in thin air again. I dug into the sensation archive and tried to find an analogy to disappointment.
Perhaps the time when I got into the college I didn’t like.
That morning I looked at the result next to my name on the screen. Shut my eyes at once. And gently reopened them, with drops of tear plopped down my face, layer after layer, like a wretched painter and his barren canvas. I clutched the thought as if the hollowness and distress would transcend the space and live inside me right now. So I could cry, shriek, make a scene or lose control. That didn’t happen. Nothing ever happened. “How does it feel to feel?” I wondered.
The first day is always the easiest. Beginner’s luck, they call it, fleeting and bewitching as the fireworks in a crisp winter evening. I never like the casual opening like ‘hi’ and ‘hello’. What am I supposed to say, especially when there’s no facial expression or real-life interaction to make out if this is actually working. You’ve got to be charismatic, I thought. You’ve got to be inspiring and magical like Celine and Jesse in Before Sunrise.
Except that we are all experts in toying with the idea of love and relationship and anything in between with the mischievous exchange of messages on our phones now. It could have been canned response but for a minute I was paralysed. I don’t know what to expect, but I have a good feeling about this one. Albeit the good feeling is wrong every time.
Then it came the second day. There is something platonic about waiting for a reply. It’s like entering the theatre early and eavesdropping the tiptoes and light chitchats in the audience – everything seems intimate and connected, only you feel alienated and anxious as the clock ticks. I hate to think that another failure is storming in. And I hate to acknowledge that despite my apprehensive attempt the ending is still the same.
Sound of a message coming in
No, I’m not going to check it, I told myself, because I couldn’t stand the possibility of a false alarm. I’m always torn between my daydreamer’s envy and my pessimist playtime. Is it too early in the morning? Did i say something wrong? What does that mean? Knowing and understanding, dearly similar but faintly in tuned, like a broken metronome, crippled acuity, brooding over all odds.
So I walked over and picked up my phone.
Message from mom
[Entering the rabbit hole of pensive indifference]