By Robert Langellier
I’m struggling for something here. I’ve been lying face up in my brand new apartment, staring intently at my eyelids. Really intently, because I’ve been looking for something. Not that I know what; it’s just one of those numb moods where you don’t really feel like you’re yourself and everything in the world seems to hold equal weight. I think everyone knows the feeling, even if I can’t articulate it. I’ve been doing this for a while, and everything behind these eyelids for a while seemed to be swimming in fast circles, pushing around and around, and it was weird, and it was captivating. I’ve been lying here, still, waiting for the sensation to come back.
I haven’t even moved in, yet, really. I just got here three hours ago. I brought some clothes and a guitar into these empty rooms, and not really much else. The two lights in here aren’t very bright; everything’s a little dim. I’m using a blanket and some toilet paper as a pillow as I lie in this empty room and let my stomach dissolve six pieces of Domino’s I bought down the street.
(It’s extremely quiet.)
There’s no internet here. Some bare furniture, nothing on the walls, nothing moving, nothing whirring or churning or beeping or buzzing. Just me; I am alone. This room is empty. So is the rest of the apartment, and for right now, the entire town as far as I am concerned. There is nothing to do.
My friends are gone. Most are off in Springfield, beginning their summer together and probably struggling for the same magic something that I am. Some are in Chicago or St. Louis or spread around Minnesota. One is in Detroit, one is in Boston, one is in Cheyenne. A few will be arriving here in the coming weeks. My roommate will be here tomorrow. But I’m here now, and no one else is.
It’s raining. That’s partially why I haven’t moved any of my things out of my car. The sky outside is dark and bleak. It’s cold, too. I had hoped for a better day to move in. I did, too, when I moved out of my dorm a week ago amidst a rainy tornado. Guess the weather doesn’t want me to move, either.
(The ceiling creaks.)
I’ve been reading all the blogs lately of my friends. I think everyone’s had the most magical year of their lives. I don’t know that I did. I’ve been a little nostalgic recently. I kind of want to play “Landslide” or “Christmas TV” or “Still Fighting It,” but this silence seems too heavy to break. It’s an oppressive and anxious and heart wrenching silence, but it’s new. Silence is not something I’m accustomed to bearing anymore.
I’ve never been this quiet. I’m thinking back throughout this past specific year, and I don’t think it was for me what it was for everyone else. I was blessed the summer before. I know that everyone thinks they have the best friends, but they’ve never been me and they’ve never met mine. Maybe Joel is right to put Springfield on a pedestal. It definitely has some strange magic. There is an annoying amount of charisma generated in my friendship with them, and that’s been really tough to recreate with a brand new set of faces.
Not new anymore. I did plenty of bonding with many faces in an unforgettable year. But they’re not here, either. Springfield will have its summer without me, as will St. Louis and Chicago and Detroit and Boston and Cheyenne. I’m making the most of what I’ve got here, which is plenty. It’s not like I’ll be out of touch. There will be some magical visits. My time will be well spent.
But my eyelids kept spinning as I lay here, and right now it’s a new atmosphere. I’m months away from being a 20-year-old. I have two jobs, and I’m taking two classes. I have an apartment. It won’t always be cold and empty and white, but everywhere I go and everything I do I remember that these are places and these are things I used to watch my brother do when he got old.
There’s something intangibly new in the steps I take. The strides are longer and they’re going places now. They walk instead of run. They have focus driven into them. I wonder if I will be able to undo that, and if not, how long I can keep change at bay.
(I hear someone showering through the walls.)
I snapped fully awake a while ago, and I’m still just lying here. I kind of want to close my eyes again until the world spins around my eyelids once more, but I can’t get it to. It’s still deadly quiet, but I can’t get the moment to come back. It’s late now; it’s black outside. Eventually I’ll have to go down to my car and get my things. My pillow, at least, and my stuffed gorilla. I really don’t want them to get wet.
I want them to stay perfect. To never change or deteriorate. I want that for this past year and for last summer and for my youth. I really can’t tell if I’m trying to hold on to everything or if I’m just reaching for what I’ve already lost.
It’s hard to recapture a moment. Once it’s gone, it’s usually gone. But I’m still lying here, wishing those fast circles would stay.
(A machine somewhere is whirring now. It’s loud.)