There is no word count there is no word count there is no word count there is no word count there is no word count there is no word count there is only what I expect of you. What I expect of you is what I expect for myself and the roof is in the sky. The sky is looking up at this glass ceiling. The ceiling is white and above my bed and I am staring and the words are not coming anymore and my third grade teacher would be so disappointed in me. I can submit this on time. I will not be ready to submit this on time. The submit button stares back at me. I avert my eyes.
It’s a beautiful Wednesday night. My room is too cold without the heat, and unbearable when it’s on. The final paper for the one class I’ve consistently enjoyed this semester sits open on a Word doc on my laptop in the background. There were three topics to pick from, and I picked my own because what, I thought I was clever? I thought I had something intelligent to contribute to the general public of this private institution? My hubris was my folly, and the folly was to write this paper in eight hours before the imaginary deadline I have set for myself that is tangentially related to the real deadline if you factor in 20 years worth of building study habits, my rising sign, and a healthy dose of Celsius to get through the day.
I don’t even need caffeine. I need the social validation that comes with common addiction. I need small talk with my passing acquaintances and banter with soon-to-be friends about our shared desire for motivation. All that motivates me is the passage of time, with its exorable reminders that life is real and has consequences. I need deadlines to tell me that I exist, and my actions are perceived by a force (my professor) greater than myself (he has tenure).
The paper is still waiting. I copy and paste the prompt I wrote days ago and try to remember how it made me feel, or think, or decide to write it. The words do not answer. To stall my task, I take out a notebook and jot down ideas in shorthand. It looks like work, because I’m thinking real thoughts, but it does not enrich the content of my final product. A whole semester of learning, a lifetime of learning to assimilate into popular culture, and this is what I have to show for it? A few shitty bullet points in a spiral receptacle? A conglomerate of what I call knowledge, packaged into a traitorous mind that scrambles to perform academia. I am no more than a peasant yearning for the light of divine acknowledgement to graze my shoulders, lift up my face, and tell me that I’m doing alright. There is no hell. They wouldn’t want me there anyway.
I sit and weep and write a couple words and lie down on the floor. The world won’t end but I am unfit for all that I have accomplished. The words spilling out of me are all wrong. They are wrong now and they will be when I finally crawl back to the desk and put that poor prompt out of its misery. There is no end in sight. I must end it myself.
I write a sentence, and then another. Actually, maybe this will be okay.