I know it’s late. Or at least it is for now; you’re probably reading this in the morning, wondering what was so important that I had to call you so many times tonight. Last night. This is confusing. It’d be a lot easier if you were online to chat to. Why aren’t you online? You’re always online!
I hate you being so far away.
He muted the volume and it stopped.
Tony always thought you could tell a lot about a girl from the way she sneezed. Samantha had the softest sneeze he’d ever heard – she expelled what must have been a tiny amount of air in an abrupt, barely audible, “hnn” followed by a faint, “choo.” She would actually say, “choo,” something which had baffled Tony ever since he’d met her on a summer’s evening, the twilight air hanging heavy with pollen which aggravated her hay fever. He couldn’t tell if it was a natural action or an affectation she’d picked up. If it was the latter then he couldn’t for the life of him work out why anyone would wish to sound so wilfully cartoonish. He brought this up a few times over the years and she insisted she had no idea what he was talking about. He suspected this to be a lie.
It goes like this:
You start the week feeling bright and prepared. You feel quietly assured that this time things will be different. You make plans, you write to do lists, you make a a vow to be healthy and productive. Go for a jog on Monday, salad for dinner Tuesday. You put that copy of Anna Karenina in your bag to read at lunch. You’ll be the you that you always knew you could be. You’ll keep it up for two, maybe even three days. But inevitably come Friday the veil of sensibility will have been torn to rags. You’ll find yourself desperately scrabbling for the weekend, on hands and knees, like a man in a desert dying of thirst, withering under the noonday sun, clawing his way towards an oasis.
Ever since my first steps as a curious toddler I’ve been burdened with the nagging feeling that I’m doing something wrong. Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, be the act illicit or virtuous, performed diligently or devil may care, I can’t seem to shake the sensation that I’m mistaken in some fundamental and irredeemable way. People tell me I can’t possibly remember learning to walk but I assure you, as real a memory as seeing me today would be for you tomorrow, I can still see and feel that moment vividly. As I toddled along experiencing life up on my feet for the first time the fear struck me. I worried that perhaps I wasn’t doing it right, that my legs were making all the wrong movements. I became so anxious that I panicked. With no parental guidance on the matter (where they were at the time I couldn’t tell you) I stumbled and careened head first into the nearby coffee table. That accident consolidated in me that nascent fear and ever since I’ve carried with me the unshakeable feeling that my fears had been proven entirely correct.