It’s 3 am. You’ve spent exactly two hours now, trying to find the right configuration of body and bed, trying not to look at the time. But you do, and you give in. You wake the computer up and ask it again. It looks back at you with that same blank look, again. A t-shirt sale, a bank statement, a reminder to ‘link in’ with some HR woman called Richa, or Monica.
A cigarette will help you relax, sleep. Indeed.
The little voice in your head warns you again. It doesn’t matter so much, you know; it’s not the end of the world; don’t get your hopes up, you know where that goes. You dismiss it. The little sport-spoiler. Of course it matters. It will change your life. Finally, something good will happen to you. Hell knows you’ve worked for it. Yes.
The look on their faces when you tell them. Oh, how they’ll burn. You’ll show them who’s a worthless, mediocre hack. You’ll walk away with a smirk on your face and never look back.
Just a few hours to go. Isn’t it the most exhilarating thing in the world, waiting for a miracle to happen … waiting for the world to stop and tip its hat to you.
The computer, that heartless sonovabitch. It pretends as if it’s nothing. It gives it the same little yellow flag it gives to the bloody phone bill. You spring up from the bed, take a deep breath and click.
Is there anything more agonizing than the pain of rejection?
You read it again. Slowly. You imagine the relief when you realize you’d just missed your name. But you know. Your heart knows. Not the metaphorical one; the real, physical heart. Deep inside, you actually feel it sink.
What were you thinking? Why did you have to do this? Oh no, you can’t get away from it now. If you were willing to take their opinions as approval, you must accept their rejection too. There you go then. Your mediocrity now has the stamp of confirmation. You can’t write.
You’re a pointless waste of time. You can’t find words to express this emptiness. Oh, fuck words. Words are what got you here, in this mess. They made you believe they were on your side. With words, you will astonish Paris. Balls. Your words are not worth the pirated Office 2007 Enterprise Edition CD you borrowed to regurgitate them, and shamelessly thrust them in the face an innocent world.
You want to throw up, but you find the idea so predictable, so banal. Just like your writing. You ignore calls from your friends. You feel no fatigue, no hunger, no heat. Just the tingling in your nerves. The desire to run, to some place else. You sit at the window and stare. At the people running to catch the bus. At a sparrow searching frantically, as the sun sets behind its back. And you light another cigarette, because there’s nothing left to do.
You discover an old playlist. Knopfler, The Cure, the Boss. It reminds you of another time. It reminds you that you may not be young any more. But you aren’t too old. Not yet. Not until the last day.
You read a line in Bob Dylan’s book, and you stop, and read it again. “The one thing about my wife that I always loved was that she was never one of those people who think that someone else is the answer to their happiness. Me or anybody else. She’s always had her own built-in happiness.”
You realize what is so stupidly obvious, you can’t even call it a realization.
As much as you admire, love or respect someone, they’re still human. They have their weaknesses, their prejudices. And their opinions are just that. Opinions.
How pathetic it is to crave for the approval of other men and women. Pick yourself up, for fuck’s sake, drag yourself out of this disgraceful puddle of self-pity. And write. Write until your fingers ache with joy, until you grab those words by their necks and line them up to create something more interesting. Something beautiful.
Or, forget about the whole business and watch Boston Legal again. Just remember that no mortal with armpit hair and rotting teeth can judge you for it.