A draught comes in through my open windows, stirring the stillness in my candlelit room. Outside, the silhouette of houses and trees absorb light and reflect none—pitch black, against a grey crop of sky. My dogs bark, their voices magnified by echoes. Distantly, another dog answers. But there’s no sound of technology: no televisions, no music, nothing save for the tapping of my fingers against the keyboard, the glow of my laptop illuminating the gloom. This brownout feels a bit like radio silence, a bit like the provincial quiet I grew up in. It feels like a much-needed pause, a break from a decidedly urban life.
And just when you’re starting to grow accustomed to the semi-darkness, to the silence, to the temporary disconnect, the lights come back on.
At least you’ve remembered something important: breathe. (Your old mantra, remember.)
It happened while I was in the midst of the most mundane of things—I was washing the dishes—when my mother cried for my attention, gesturing to the birdcage, panic plain in her voice. I hurried to find one of the birds on the floor of the cage, shallowly breathing.
When I was younger, the words came to me more freely than they do now. I could write about the most mundane of things, like a trip to the library or a day spent cleaning my room. I was too eager to write about anything, about everything, that I lacked filter and the words just poured through my fingertips like drops of water.
Now they pour out like drops of blood. These days, writing about things feels somehow like slicing my flesh open so that I can extract what’s within me: the joy, the ache, the fear and thrill. It is more difficult now than I’ve been accustomed to, and everytime I try—and goodness, do I try—I end up getting frustrated because the roaring thing inside couldn’t get out in peace. A big fraction of this year has been spent facing the glow of my laptop, two to three lines in, and then blank. Perhaps this is one reason I’ve been so erratic this year: I lacked my one vital outlet, my saving grace.
And so, for the last time this year, I scratch and claw and dig for all the words that I’ve kept caged for so long. For the last day of 2015, I open up the prison of my mind.
It was in between waking and unconsciousness—that slow, inevitable descent into the inky pool of sleep—when a quiet epiphany encroached upon me. Long months of helplessness and lack of motivation, months of crises, months of living short of oxygen, suffocating inside my own bell jar. All because I wouldn’t allow myself to let go of the reins, to let my person be free.
A wolf the color of snow pads silently, leaving a trail in its wake. It is on the hunt. The ground is frozen white, with barely any hint of the vegetation underneath. A twig snaps in the distance and the white wolf lifts its head, its ears pricked. Even from a distance, it catches the scent of an outsider—someone who doesn’t belong to the pack.
The white wolf shifts, its muscles tensing, ready.
It tastes the unmistakable metallic tang of blood in the air.
A steady growl pierces the thick atmosphere and red eyes light up the gloom. From a thick cover of trees, a dark wolf emerges, its coat the color of coal. Out of place in these gray lands.
The dark wolf bares its fangs. Dark liquid trickles from its canines and stains the immaculate whiteness of snow.
I am in a haze somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness.
My body clock’s really messed up, after months of having bedtime past twelve midnight. So tonight, I have decided to stay away from the computer, give myself a chance to indulge in sleep. I curl in my bed, pleased by the warmth enveloping my little body, and as soon as my eyelids snap shut, a tidal wave of thoughts come rushing in. I drown in the voluminous waves. Continue reading “Us”→