By Emma Majcen
I’ve spent a lot of my time waiting around for something to happen to me.
Some days I’d spend hours sitting on the edge of my bed just waiting. A spring light, that really ought to be celebrated, would fill and then leave my room before I so much as flinched. When I found myself in one of those indolent moments, egression to the burdens of reality was never had with any ease. I guess I was somewhat worried. Without the submission of my all, I felt the subtle presence of this unnameable thing might be missed. I was scanning for an entity that I knew possessed as much fragility as a single ray of light. But hidden within the guise of its smallness would be this energetic capacity like that of an atomic bomb. I only had to find whatever it was, and my life, without exertion, would change forever. Consequently, my sensitivity became entirely seduced. My eyes turned a strained red looking out for an image that they’d never even seen. My ears began to ring with the whispers of silence as they hunted for a sound that had never been heard before.
I can only try to explain how anxious it made me feel. It was like the defence force general had thrown me into the middle of the Gibson Desert and said ‘don’t move ‘til you hear the hum of the drones, then page us’. I felt responsible. A part of me wanted to get off the bed and do something. A part of me very much wanted to escape the whole goddamn feeling. But I just couldn’t. When I wasn’t waiting I was thinking about waiting. It was like a leech that had dug itself a nice little hole in the back of my neck. Some days it would pain me to tears, but no matter the force of my intent, I couldn’t shake it off.
I suppose my life then was beyond ordinary. It had the flatness of Coke that had been left without a lid for days. Everything seemed so predictable. Even my sources of outward distress. Carole, for example. I knew nothing about her except her name and the fact that every Tuesday morning without fail she would figure out a way to piss off Alice and I. It got to the point where I knew exactly what she was going to say and when she was going to say it. Conversations were repeated like episodes of some B-grade sitcom. I knew all the lines, I even knew the goddamn lighting. It was utter stagnation.
Life had become this horrible thing. This endlessly building crystal lattice. Everything aligned, nothing without an evident reason and I really felt there was no escape. That’s what freaked me out the most—the seemingly naturalness of it all. Like the holes of a lotus flower or the coils of a snail shell. That life had no other way of being. That in the end everything followed an intricate pattern or adhered to some kind of limit. Even the reckless. Perhaps the glory of my youth was simply to do with the then newness of it all. But as age settled itself in like dust on a shelf, it brought on an unnerving knowingness.
These ideas, they wouldn’t leave me. I’d catch myself staring at strangers on the bus who seemed content. If the opportunity presented itself I would have gladly given them my all for their assumed ignorance. But I couldn’t help but see it in everything. Like the rose seeds Alice brought home from the hardware store one time. She spent the whole afternoon happily planting them. There was nothing odd about it. But I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I lay there thinking about those goddamn seeds and it nearly scared the crap out of me. How predictable it all was. If she did the right thing, if she followed all the labelled instructions, those seeds would grow into roses. There was no doubt about it.
‘And what,’ I asked her one night ‘what if I’m the same?’ She just looked at me blankly and told me to ‘cut back on the coffee’. Just like I thought she would. But really what if I was the same? Maybe some time ago there had existed this wide potential of being but living seemed to inevitably narrow it. As if it was this glorious beam of light, endlessly drawing itself in on me till I was pinned to one immovable place. With a sickening disturb I soon realised that only certain gestures were illuminated by its sphere. Heroism’s act required more room. But reality could only see me in one way. The whole thing was essentially inescapable—a self-built cell without a key.
So I waited; in the tea room at work, in the car during the middle of rush hour, by the phone on weekends, I desperately waited for something to happen to me. But nothing ever did. The legion of monotony had me feeling like I was perpetually stuck in a three act stage play titled ‘It’s too late for some’. It nearly drove me crazy and I started to resent the bait of my happiness just as much as the elicitor of my anger. I could have left, but what would Alice do? So every day I continued painfully being me. Til one day it hit me and a batty calmness has been with me ever since. Somewhere out there, ‘Anything is possible’ was being performed just as ceaselessly.