TV Binge with Myself

His eyes were a blurry kingdom of sleep and water.

The moon slanted onto the square, symmetrical floor, perfect in its own curves and blemishes. He blinked the sleep out of his eyes, but the tears wouldn’t go. An adventurous drop ventured into his mouth, filling his saliva with salt and metal. Metal? He felt around his lips and found he’d cut the upper lip when he grit his teeth too hard into the pillow. The gash was fresh, launching ripe red blood into his mouth in irregular gasps as he bit harder, trying to suck the wound dry. He preferred the couch in the hall to the double bed he’d just vacated. The latter was too soft and inviting; the pillow was too good a friend for him. The couch was much better. It poked him around the finer crevices, and the limited space felt good in contrast to the frightening expanse of the bed. He curled up in a cosy ball just beside the wooden arm rest, and stared at the television embedded into the wall unit in front of him. He’d never appreciated the presence of the machine when it wasn’t on and playing his favorite Impractical Jokers, but now he knew what wonders a little black square glinting in a semi-dark hallway could do. It gave him space to think; that perfect piece of distilled dark, untainted by any other colour, just sitting there, waiting for a sorry bloke to stare and it and flick through his thoughts at leisure. Even closed eyes couldn’t offer him complete, uncoloured black, and he felt happy something could.


He hated his mother. She was telling him to do stuff, and he wanted to do other stuff before he thought about doing her stuff, and it was all very unfair.


He was standing alone in the graveyard, an enormous iron spade poised mid-dig, looking at a squirrel as she gnawed intently onto the end of a weed sticking out of the nearest gravestone. He couldn’t decide if he was the weed or the squirrel. If he was being gnawed at or if he was doing the gnawing. If he was pitiful or if he was fake. The uncertainty became unbearable and he felt his gaze tear away. Sighing quietly, he dumped a final mound of earth over his body and left the scene. Behind him, he felt the squirrel scurry across to his own gravestone.


An army of honeybees attacked his brain, buzzing like a millenium of abuses and taunts, before twisting into an eternity of silver static.


His best friend wrote an amazing poem and he didn’t feel how he was supposed to. He felt like throwing him off a cliff. And following.


He had a bunch of people who really cared. They gave him their everything, or at least that’s what it meant to him, and everything wasn’t enough to fill his cavity. He wanted more, he wanted better. He took a compass and peppered their lovely letters with moth holes, before turning the instrument on his right arm.


He swatted a mosquito and pressed it between his thumb and middle finger till the wretched thing popped in his palm. He smeared his finger with the blood and wrote his name on a piece of smooth yellow paper. When he didn’t cut, he liked to think he did.


He thought he was ugly, he heard voices all around him that confirmed his dread. As the day wore on in the little black screen, he saw his friends, all of them with twisted faces that resembled Disney villains, flexing their fingers and rolling their abnormal heads at him- he, who looked strange and seedier than usual. His bag had grown to twice its size. So had his belly, his pimples and his accent. Normally he would’ve laughed; he had a knack of laughing the most obnoxiously loud when it was least welcomed- in crowded elevators, during principal sermons, at a funeral. But the hilarious obscenity of the scene coupled with the grim hopelessness of the night produced an environment that was surprisingly macabre. He changed the channel just as Sher khan peeked around the doorway in the principal’s clothes.


He grinned at his new report card and switched on his whatsapp to tell his mother he’d topped, only to come up against a blog post that belittled marks as being “nothing in shaping a child’s life.” He hated being down because of a shitty Internet post. The way his corners relaxed, his hands loosened their grip on the official piece of cardboard , his emotions barelled to the bottom of his heart in a matter of moments- it was almost like he wanted to feel sad. That he liked to feel down and have everyone pucker him with pieces of decorated shit on how to get his stuff together. And he hated himself for that. He shrugged it off and took another swig out of his water bottle, pretending it was tequila. He was good at pretending it was tequila. Maybe it really was tequila. Or was it? He didn’t know. It was bitter and colorless. Just the thing.


He was standing on the edge of the cliff, as he gave one last middle finger to his people and yelled “Fuck you, God!” at the top of his lungs before rejoining his friend in what he was sure was hell…


He was tired, but not sleepy. He rubbed his eyes anyway; they felt reddened and heavily wrinkled. But not sleepy. Sleep was an escape. Sleep was a haven. Sleep was bliss. Sleep was sleep. This wasn’t sleep. Sleep was with someone who deserved it. He didn’t deserve sleep. He deserved life. He was to spend the night like that, staring into nothing, his lashes never meeting save to contribute to a blink.

An eerie wave of positivity washed up the corners of his brain now that he’d laid all the shit down. Even this ghost of pleasure was hesitant in its path, like a traveler being pushed into a new and confounding land.

Drawing his knees tighter against mosquitoes and other creatures of reality, he turned down the static in his head to a low, reassuring hum and swallowed the spit that had built up in his mouth for over an hour. Drowned in the comforting tickings of the off-timed clocks placed throughout the house, he lied down on his couch, and waked.


Aditya. 17. Blogs are safer than people.

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