A place like this.

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This life, and the comfortlessness of it.

Gray light seeped into the room, and a familiar confusion prodded me awake, like a question turning and forming within me. I closed my eyes again, snoozing uneasily for another 2 hours. So much for wanting to wake up early to prepare for class. I ought to feel guilty, but I can no longer count the number of weeks since I last touched my books – a few more wasted hours doesn’t make much of a difference.

My thoughts shifted slowly within me, like a restless mob getting ready to riot. I dressed, powdering my face and pinning back my hair in the cool darkness of the room. The days have been terribly warm, the sun as searing and relentless as my thoughts. It’s been making me wish I could hide in my cold, dark room and not emerge for a long time.

It’s been a nightmarish sort of week, falling in and out of obsessive thinking, my mind always panicked, driven by strange irrational fears. Work doesn’t get done, I can’t read, can’t draw. At night I sit in disgust and hopelessness, contemplating my condition, sometimes with tears, sometimes entering into intense imaginative episodes to distract myself from the turmoil, not feeling quite human anymore.

I began my journey to school, feeling numb, train-wrecked. I’m done contemplating. I’ve learnt more about myself than I care to know. There is no answer to my irrational fears. There is no benefit in being disgusted in the messiness of my mind. And all this overthinking – perhaps in a way, it was really just my subconscious method of trying to fill my emptiness.

Plodding along in the heat, hollow and numb, I finally felt my mind slow down to a more manageable pace. But I continued to carry a familiar unsettled feeling deep within me as I walked up the path towards my school. Comfortless, this world is just comfortless.

The day started kindly, with kind faces, gentle exchanges. In the later hours sometimes around my friends I felt chocked with neediness, but that feeling was moderated by some pleasurably normal conversations that made me feel more at home with myself. I gently restrained my inner restlessness, trying to learn to be okay. Sometimes the thought would hit me, while looking at all the unfamiliar faces – how normal everyone is! How focused, how functional, how sociable. What is a person like me doing in school?

It’s useless as a paperweight, I remember my friend saying, watching a perfectly round little pebble he’d picked up roll across the table. But that doesn’t make it of any less worth as a stone.

Not of any less worth, not of any less worth. In the evening I went running. The feeling of exertion, of having something stuck in my chest, something fighting you as you desperately try to press ahead – it was rather like the feeling of everyday life, intensified. Only today can continue into tomorrow, I repeated the words over and over in my head, trying to swat away the distracting thoughts flying in and out of my mind.

Pushing my bicycle towards the road, dripping with sweat, I looked over the canal to the dim colours of the sky and the warm lights starting to come on in the housing estates. I wonder if there’s a place for me, here in this comfortless city. I feel so stripped of wonder, bereft of feeling, craving the warmth and fondness I left behind in another city almost a year ago.

Back in the room, I stretch and play a song, defeated.You know better than I: Perhaps God has a plan, perhaps God has a plan. Perhaps somehow, I’ll find myself, find compromises where there are no answers, and perhaps even find out what it means to have a beautiful day, in a city like this.

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