I woke up into realisation today. My shoebox, a sandbox of memories made of nothing. The memories put into me. When I die I will wake up into the world that makes sense.
I am the only one who knows this.
There wasn’t much for me to do today, and it took five hours to wake up to the smell of coffee in my mug. Does my time matter? What does time matter when I’m living and living in separate times all at the same time?
I’m living in a shoebox.
And that makes it a little easier to stand on the train every morning, to go to work every morning, to live every morning.
Don’t think about that at work.
‘I’ve got to get me one of those scarfs,’ he says.
I laugh because I am too ugly to speak to people sometimes.
I am wearing my big coat, my big dress, my boots, and my scarf. I love this scarf. I can see myself buying it, wearing it. All before the time that is right now.
It must be lunchtime, I have my salad in my hands. Salad, definitely on the list of foods I used to hate but now must eat.
Pressing the door release, I am walking down the hall. Should I go to the toilet now, or later? Should I go into the toilet and disappear now, or later?
The lift arrives. Floor 13. Down to the ground in just a few moments. Not a single stop on the way.
Surrounded by mirrors, I peak. Wish I had never discovered my self.
My salad is too good to be a salad. It must be bad for me.
I sit in my shoebox, open a book, hoping the girls sitting at the café aren’t too loud. There is not a single ounce of energy in me today; how am I supposed to be angry?
Sitting on the steps, alone. I like it here, alone. I sometimes enjoy being.
I slip thoughts between the words, somehow reading about a train, somehow wishing I could escape my shoebox all at once. Who is waiting for me to wake up?
40 minutes is up. 40 minutes goes a lot faster than 8 hours.
‘What are you having for lunch?’ he says when I come back in.
‘I already ate it,’ cursing myself, now they’re thinking about me eating.
He laughs. ‘What did you have?’
‘A salad,’ cursing myself, now they’re thinking about me eating a salad.
Put it back in my bag, shove it back in my bag. Lunch didn’t happen.
Hours upon hours pouring into more minutes, how am I still sitting at my desk?
I wish the people I love knew how much I love them.
This is the final page of my notebook. Too many notes, most of them reminding myself how to use a hyphen, who deserves a hyphen (compounds).
Another coffee to reward myself – it’s halfway through the day.
Should I have another one? Will I get itchy legs and itchy skin from being restless if I have another one?
I make another one.
I’m thinking about my bed, my cat. I’m thinking about the weekend, and I think I might cry. How can the weekend be over, but now still be going?
Maybe I can jump back into the weekend, live on a dancefloor with wine spilling through my fingers and my friend handing me a dry carrot stick. Of course, I ate the carrot stick.
But I am still sitting in my chair, a scarf wrapped around my shell like a blanket.
People weaving in and out of my way, coming out of shops and not noticing me here.
No one noticing me here.
Now I am free, I can think. I unplug the cork.
I am 21 years old and at some point in my life I slipped into a different moment, someone else’s moment. Soon I will be 22, and people are waiting for me. What if I never get back to them?
One day I will be 40 years old, 50, 70, maybe.
One day I will be older and what if I’m still stuck here?
Where is the key to get out?
I am listening to something. I don’t hear it.
I catch the 5.12 pm express train. I stand in the same spot I always do. I see the same people I always do.
I don’t resent routine.
Tomorrow, we will all wake up and do it again.
I wonder if the 5.12 pm passengers think about me on Wednesdays.
I walk through the park, try not to think about the me who existed here.
Someone walking a dog passes me, I hold my breath. I don’t want them to hear me breathe. I wonder what they think of me.
My next-door neighbours have already put their bins up, and I can see that it’s recycling week.
I do nothing for my family. I take the bins up. Don’t say I don’t do anything for this family.
The door is locked and no one is home. My mum isn’t home, and my key isn’t in my wallet. I left my key in the weekend bag, left it where I didn’t need it.
I turn my phone’s torch on and creep around the side of the house.
What if my neighbours call the police? Do they remember me?
My backdoor is open, and I’m inside.
My cat is waiting on my bed, sleepy eyes and warm fur. He paws at my coat when I come closer. He wants me to pick him up.
He has an old face. He would be younger back home, he would live forever back home.
I feed him. A big lump of wet food.
My room is cold, my house is cold, but I love winter. I take my coat off, finally, and take off my scarf.
My wardrobe doors open and reveal my mirror. I examine myself, examine my skin. I have never seen skin so lumpy, so displeased. Sometimes, I wonder if I am the first Ugly person. The first real one, anyway. I don’t think I have ever seen someone who is so completely foul. Sometimes I walk around with the word in my head, proud of it. Then I remember.
At night, I break my silence.
I wonder when everyone became images, when everyone I know became paper cut outs.
I’m seeing less and less of them all. I think I am developing a sight. I think I can see through it all, all of reality, and the person who created it.
I read a story about a man who woke up. I think I’ll wake up in a time I remember. But the more I think, the less real my entire life seems. When did I become fake? When did the void open up and swallow me into this shoebox?
I imagine myself talking to my old psychologist. Saying, ‘I am in a shoebox, nothing is real, I can see the seams pulling apart,’ saying nothing. But he worked with the rest of them, I think they have been keeping me inside like a dirty shoe.
Maybe, this is a dollhouse.
I think I am already dead. I think I already did wake up. And I think I ended up here.