The world collapsed in the night. Darkness poured in, twisting concentrics spun all around me and I held on to the sheets as if they could anchor me to something real. Searching for perspective in the shadows, tumbling into chaos. Pulled against my will into the mouth of the maelstrom, wide white eyes and eyebrows scrunched, a silent scream building as the crushing crashing realisation smothered me and I knew, with crystal clarity, that my life is useless.
Turn on the light.
Fragile pages of wood, beaten and flogged, bleached and printed, and I force myself to focus on the words. It takes concentration to follow the story, to see the meaning, to read. I am scared, in the bright yellow light of this bedroom, filled with others’ belongings that mine are scattered over like a transient patina, waiting to be swept into a pan and discarded with the rest of the trash. I cannot look away. Beyond my window is nothing. The world is this room, all that exists in reality is this room and this room is centered around this book, this one thing I hold in my hands. If I look away now I fall spinning, wildly, madly, lost.
I am lost.
I know that much. It’s pretty clear, to anyone who sees me. To a friend, who wonders how I am dealing with having no job, no home, no plan. To a passing stranger, skating by on the boardwalk, who takes the time to pause, to turn to me and say “don’t worry. It will all be okay”. And to the new acquaintance who turns to me at my brother’s celebration of his completed PhD dissertation and asks, “So, when are you going to do a PhD?” A PhD. Grad school. The hanging inevitability that slinks below the horizon like a recalcitrant sun, too much to look at and too big to avoid. I have had some time to process his comment now—I could punch him.