Self pity

Like prisoners, they line up one after the other waiting to enter space. Mind, body and soul. A thought, an image, a song, a movie scene and you feel the corners of your mind opening up to the clawing need of self pity. It’s 6 in the morning, you open your eyes to the yellowed darkness in your curtains. Gates open and close, school vans stop and honk, two-wheelers sustain their starting problems and you cringe. The alarm didn’t wake anybody up today. You wait for it to ring and turn if off. Last night’s thoughts crawl up under your thighs and mock the wetness in sheets, now they creep into your mind and the toying mirth in its blankness upsets you.

Thoughts become gestures, gestures become insults, insults become hot and burning tears. Rewind. You have to be properly upset, there should be more meanness in the enemies’ gestures. There should be more tears. How can you fashion a dramatic walk out on somebody without letting them know you are crying?

Fatal illnesses like cancer aren’t fun anymore. You have cancer, your friends come, cry, and then you die. Where are the bullies? The friends who become enemies on such mornings? Where is the evil in their villainous plans to ruin your life? Their actions aren’t knifing through your heart like you want them to. Try and harder. It’s 6:45 now. You have cried. The pointlessness in this exercise doesn’t bother its dramatics. As long as your face now is imitating the one in your imagination – sad, lonely and crying, it’s ok.

In the shower, steam seeps through your toes and you watch it rise up as your stories fall through all around you and vanish into the drain along with soap, dirt and hair. You feel new but it’s still not a new morning. You don’t want it to be, not yet. The pulling away from self pity can happen later, at a time when you have to think about work and life seriously. But now you just want to be left alone with the miserable liberties your mind takes with all the bad things that can happen to you. And they are rarely the very bad things that can happen to you in real life, like losing a limb, losing your job, not getting to go abroad to do that fabulous PhD. They are ridiculous, small and almost laughably petty: a friend choosing somebody else over you, them forgetting you and leaving you, them not remembering your birthdays. The fear becomes bigger along with more elaborate stories that you create, more details, more play on memories until you find somebody else, but the story is always the same, the fears are always the same, those of abandonment.

When you step out, you feel lighter because the day is starting to catch up and suddenly time is a real thing, like a problem, then you think about work and eventually the day becomes real.

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