Inky Happiness

I finger my pen carefully, gently rolling it between my fingers. It’s heavy and solid, and it feels like a weapon. I measure its weight and think I could kill someone with this. Unbidden, my teeth worry my lower lip. That wasn’t meant to be symbolic. Or metaphoric. It wasn’t meant to be so violent and angry, but it was that, too. I lay my head down on the desk, silently begging my eyes to keep the tears in. I’m tired of worrying about whether I’m using the right word, I’m tired of drowning in symbolism, I’m tired of anger and fear, I’m tired of…so much.

One tear squeezes out of my eye. I bite my lip harder. Please, no, I don’t want to cry. I’m so selfish. As that thought strikes my mind, something snaps under the weight of it. The tears start rushing from my eyes, my shoulders shivering and tensing and shaking, and my facial muscles contorting in spams of misery. Even my tears are selfish. I won’t write anymore. I refuse to do it, and I don’t care how selfish that makes me. I can’t, it’s destroying me. So you’ll decide to live for yourself just because it hurts not to, my mind whispers. Yes, I angrily answer, trying to ignore the fact that I’m talking to myself. Somewhere, there has to be a good answer for that…but I don’t know where it is. Why? Aren’t other people more important than you? My assurance stutters.

Desperate, I slam my chair back from the desk, dropping the pen on the ground. I flex my fingers several times, realizing that the pen had been warm. My eyes fix upon it where it’s gleaming softly on the dusty floor. No, I’m not going to pick it up. I turn and stride from the room, but the thin, almost cardboardy door refuses to allow me to slam it. It closes with a pathetically soft sound, and I choke and start to run. Through the ugly, dark hallway, down the cement stairs, out the front door with the peeling green paint.

I stand by the road and see all the ugly buildings around me. A sharp wind comes and whips me, telling me to keep moving, keep moving. I slam my hand into the wall, as I realize my mind is still working, finding symbolism everywhere. “I refuse to be a pawn of my own mind!” I scream. The only person walking down the street glares at me and turns around to walk the other way. I stare at his retreating back. I hurt him, I bothered him. “I’m sorry.” My soft voice is caught by the wind and jerked away, useless and hopeless.

My own selfishness, my own unnecessary selfishness, hurt someone who didn’t deserve to be hurt. What have I done? What am I doing? Tears are dropping down my face onto my hands clasped over my mouth. As I compose a sentence inside my head, – her tears darkened the fringe about her eyes and moistened her trembling lips, reminding her what misery tasted like – I give up. My feet turn me around and carry me back through the door with the peeling green paint. My eyes shy away from the world, not willing to acknowledge the fact that I almost decided to put myself above them. I open the door gently and pick my chair up. Then I sit down, and I pick up the pen. It’s still warm.

6 thoughts on “Inky Happiness

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