It’s 9 o’ clock, Sunday evening. I’m sitting cross-legged on my couch, face lit by the glow from my laptop; out of the corner of my eye, I can see the screensaver on the TV in front of me: tiny little firework animations, illuminating in single bursts across the screen like shy, iridescent jellyfish at the bottom of the ocean. They’re slow, dull flares that fade into blackness as quickly as they come, sort of like the short blurbs of writing that come to me every other minute or so in half-formed sentences and unfinished thoughts.
I hear the keys chattering under my overgrown fingernails, whispering to each other in quiet excitement and wondering what trail of words will spill out onto the screen. As I type, the words roll over and groggily rub the sleep out of their eyes; they stand and stretch and yawn, awoken from their six-month slumber since my last entry. I pause to listen. I, too, wonder what the words will say. What have they been dreaming about while I was away?
The text cursor blinks steadily, unnerved. We’re stuck in an unending staring contest, in which no one really wins or loses. Once I begin typing, the text cursor relents—but as soon as the words fail me, it’s back, blinking in nerve-wracking tempo. Taunting me.
When I was younger, the blank page never used to scare me. As a kid, I remember being sprawled out belly side down on the carpet, with my face comfortably propped up on my two palms as I endlessly pored over book after book. I loved to spend my free time sitting in front of our family Dell, with multiple Word docs open, as I clattered away at the keys, dreaming up imaginative short stories inspired by the books I loved so dearly.
What happened to that child-like fervor to just do—imagine, act, write, run, shout, trip and fall, joke—without second-guessing every adjective or movement, or attempting to validate every outside opinion?
Why am I so afraid of running beyond the walls I’ve constructed for myself, built upon the blueprints written up by someone else?
There must be a reason why I always end up feeling antsy and unsatisfied, like something (or someone?) to be desired. There’s a reason why I always end up leaving.