The last few weeks have been a dreary, catastrophic whirlwind. I lost many people I loved and knew, and despite the unprecedented fame I won due to my artistic skills, I stopped being happy. It’s not like one of those times when you feel low because there’s nobody around or because you’re still single when the rest of the humanity has progressed to existing in pairs. It’s not like one of those times when you’re really really sick but something can still cure your ailment.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I really don’t. Every moment I spend in my consciousness, I feel something gnawing me from the inside. There’s always this restlessness, this chronic lack of something as essential as air, this mammoth dark void that nothing seems to fill. I feel like I’m trapped in a desert, where water doesn’t exist anymore, and death is still a far far dream.
I sat in the last chair, behind the row of tall, uninterested students, at the farthest end – where even the houseflies couldn’t stop yawning and falling into involuntary naps – and looked out the window. The old guy at the podium was haranguing about the coolness of Mahatma Gandhi, and how he was the best writer plus a fortune teller plus the first advocate of sex education. It was nothing more than a rambling noise to me. I had been asked to volunteer, and that was the only reason I was perched on my seat, listening and not listening, staring at the unmoving dark green leaves under the endless vacant sky.
I was thinking about the reasons behind the despondency that’s creeped into my life. The portrait I’d drawn was placed at the dais, honored with garlands and candles, shining proudly inside the glass-frame. It was to be shifted to the principle’s office after the seminar, where it would remain longer than the people who occupy the place now. My signature would stay, and people would know me. I should have been happy as a lark. I should have been grinning or something. But here I was, slumped in the chair, struggling for breaths, wanting to run away or stop existing. It felt as if I wanted to say something but couldn’t and didn’t know what to say. It felt like I was being slowly smothered.
As the seminar ended, mam called the volunteers for photographs. I didn’t go. I still sat there, thinking about the stupidest choices I’ve made in life, and about the precious things I’ve let slip through my fingers. I scrolled through the past preserved in my gallery and thought about the hellish present. Stuffs don’t make me happy anymore. Porn. Girls. Love. Nothing does. Maybe they are right.
I’ve changed, after all.
I emerged out of the chair after mam left, walked to the opposite end, and stuffed my ears with the plastic earphones. I didn’t play anything, I just heard the silence rushing out of those perforated pieces, and pondered about the secrets in my phone. I’ve 200 MB of call recordings I never play, I’ve 46 photographs I never watch. But I don’t delete them either….
This is what’s wrong with me I guess – I can’t stop hoping. And that’s always fucked me big. I guess there comes a time when you have to stop hoping, so that the world could be at peace.
My friends saw me and came up, congratulated me for making an important contribution to the beautiful exhibition mounted by Fine Arts Society, for standing out and all, and I acknowledged, and they asked me to help them in shifting flower pots placed at the entrance. I nodded and walked with them, leaving a piece of me behind, with dead earphones slotted in his ears, staring out and trying to pull some air in his lungs, in order to stay alive and keep hoping.