Remnant

[This piece is a long one I did for Uni. I’m throwing it up here to keep myself honest.]

“Remnant”

            Streetlights dotted the roadside, havens of orange-yellow light against the autumn dark. Steven pulled his jacket closed, zipped to the chin against the blustery night. After the long weekend off, he was more than ready to return to work. Days off for him were strange things that seemed to go on for too long, time stretching in odd places. He waited at his usual bus stop, patient, plugged into the rock music that bolstered the edges of his little bubble of sanity. There was something about the constant noise, the different sounds and tempos of music that kept the gnawing ache within his mind, and his chest, at bay for a while.

Steven huffed as he checked the time. The bus was late. An old man with a cane shuffled to the stop, labored breathing the only sound between them as they waited. Steven flipped through albums, passing time, searching for something to offset his mood. He thought about offering the hunched figure his coat, thinking about the ease with which old people got ill, when the lights of the bus rounded the corner. Steven waited as the old man searched each pocket for his bus pass. Once found, the old man shuffled his way to a seat near the front, the bus taking off as Steven wobbled down the aisle, past the other riders.

Steven took his usual seat at the far back where he could observe without being noticed. It was nearing midnight and the amalgamation of people at this hour, for the most part, proved entertaining. He liked to people-watch. In his head, an Attenborough-esque commentary ran alongside his usual rock soundtrack. He fumbled with his phone, skipped to another song. Something less introspective. More upbeat, to keep his head working on other things, instead of his own worries. He slouched back with a grateful sigh. Long, insomniac nights left him tense, angry at nothing and everything. Left the world drained of colour, less real. He knew he would sleep after a long shift though. Continue reading

An old prompt

Gossamer drops shimmer around street lamps.

The pathways dampen with the perspiration of a city. My bare feet are cold on the slippery-rough pavement, pale under dark rings of dirt washed from guttered roads.

Puddles of black sparkle and ripple. Depth? Unknown.

I walk home through midnight London rain wishing I’d worn better shoes.

Expansion Rates

The universe is expanding. I take comfort in that knowledge because the universe is expanding, yes, but at a rate of time that is rightfully inconceivable to human beings. This era of time could be called the middle age of the universe. It’s still growing around the waistline, but thinning a bit in other places. It will take 5 billion years for our corner of the universe to lose its star. In which time the size of the sun will double, engulfing Mercury, Venus, and Earth. It will take billions of years after that for the universe to reach its end.

I see that expansion as the unlimited potential for anything to happen. Science could be wrong, and the universe might break apart tomorrow and fling us into the aether. Science could be right and it will take 10, 15, 20 billion years to reach absolute zero.

It won’t matter a jot to you or me, we’ll be dead and gone. But we are made of star stuff, and I like the idea of returning to the stars.

A shoulder to sigh on

His arms wrap around her, long and warm. They block the cold that bites through the seams of her jumpers and jackets. Embraced, they stand against the wind, the mist. They wait in the dark for the roving light of the night bus to come and claim her. No words are spoken. They’re solid together, against so much. They float in the dark and the mist, orbiting the solidity of each other. The light draws nearer and they grasp at solace, leather gloves smooth against the nap of a coat.

Healthcare: how disgusting a creature you are

So here I am, a broke twentysomething looking for healthcare. It isn’t too hard to find, just google ‘healthcare’ and you’ll see thousands of offers. Upon closer inspection though, these millions of plans run riot through the rabbit hole of finance. Don’t have enough finance? Tough luck, kiddo. Even if you’ve got good finances, your options are pretty back-to-the wall.

What I’m here to tell you about though, is my utter disgust at the fact that in their drop-down menus, you can find everything from Acupuncturists to Plastic Surgeons (and surgeons of all sorts as well) but there’s only one section for “Mental Health”. On Blue Shield, it was labelled “Mental Health Caregivers”. Slap to the face much? Makes me feel unwanted by my own country. Makes me feel a bit closer in mindset to all those other crazies who go off their meds, or never got treatment… maybe because they wouldn’t, but more likely BECAUSE THEY COULDN’T. I imagine much of it has to do with religion, the stigma of ‘mental health disorders’ in our everyday society, and also probably the lack of availability of these programs and professionals. 

Whatever the reason, as I enter in these soul-destroying numerals of my sad little existence, it twists that knife of ‘other’ and ‘wrong’ a little further. With me, a nicely mannered, medication compliant person, it mostly means feeling like I can’t do anything right in this stupid system. The pitying looks, the longer and longer hold times as I try to connect with the people who control my fate…

I feel like Sisyphus, eternally making it to the top of the hill, only to start again from the bottom up. I’ve had a lot of help, and a lot of support from those who love me (thanks mom, I still owe you for those ten years of hell I put you through… want a cake?) so I can’t complain (too loud, anyways). What I can do is look to those who haven’t had the support- financial, familial, or professional- and see how far our country has driven them to their breaking points. Suicides, total mental collapses, the odd mass-murdering-spree

Just think: if I, the slightly-well-adjusted, feel like an outsider, a piece of filth on the shoe of our society… How can we surmise the rest of Mentally Unhealthy America feels? 

I think it’s no wonder we’re losing control.

Sayonara (means goodbye)

There are so many nuances to the English language. Goodbye versus good bye versus farewell versus see you versus see you later versus cheers… And the ones cannibalized: au revoir, adieu, adios, ciao… 

Sayonara… sayonara has such a ring to it. It means goodbye, but there is such finality to it

moment to moment

I sleep in increments of three. 3 hours here, 6 hours there. 3 days without sleep; 3 days of 30 minutes before jerking awake and cursing.  I have three pillows. There’s no point to this number, no discernible reason for it. And yet, and yet.

It’s 7:06 AM and I’ve yet to sleep. I know that I will close my eyes and wish, sleep for three hours in those 30 minute intervals, and then wake up again. Moving, ghostly, through a life I’m unsure is actually my own. A life lived for the sake of living. People envy it, not having a set schedule.

(I’m going slightly mad with it.)

Threes, threes, threes. I walk in sets of threes. Miles, hours, number of cups of coffee. Number of turns in no particular direction (just for the sake of something different, some new side street with all its people and detritus). Today I will walk in mile segments of two, just to shake things up.

(I already know I will walk more than my average 6 miles; it is 6 to my ‘destination’ of the day, and thus 6 to return. The day is young and I am waiting for inspiration to kick me. Perhaps it will be stories in threes.)

I never quite know what will happen when the world stops for a moment in time,  and I stop with it to observe and interact.