I Am Not Here Right Now

Last week I didn’t leave the house for two days. I don’t call anyone, no one calls me. I am always free, I tell them, I have no schedule. I could go a week without talking to anyone. I wake up the same time every day. Late. I waste my time every chance I get. I watch the world through the internet and the window by my desk, through the words spelling out how I lived, through these words. I am squinting and hurting my eyes. I look up and it is dark. I am always surprised by it. I am always hungry. I feel guilty. I should be doing more. I am not dead.

I am expected to write. That’s what they’re paying me for. But I am not here right now. I am not living. I am not dead. I am imagining a life for myself, the place I feel I am supposed to be. I write the memories of my life. The one I was living. I write well. It is easy now. It is urgent, the way I lived. My writing is urgent.

I lived because of them. I wanted them to be proud of me, jealous. It was a competition. I write because of them. I want them to be proud of me, to be in awe. It is a competition. When they show me their travel pictures, I go home and look at my own. When I read their letters, I check my previous replies. When I read their stories, I think of mine. I am waiting for them, for the place I am supposed to be, for the love I am supposed to have.

I read what I write over and over. Letters, stories, poems. I read them and read them again to make sure. I try to do something else, and then I read them again. I am careful. I don’t trust myself with my words. I make sure they are written. I make sure they are exactly what I wanted to say. They always are. I am never sure. I imagine a life. I read them again.

I am terrified these will be the last words I have in me. I am terrified of death. I want what others have, what others don’t have. I am not dead. But I am close. I am not living. But I am close. This, these words, are what it takes. To get there, where I am supposed to be.


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