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Creative Nonfiction

I open the gilded leather bound notebook, its pages made of beautiful heavy textured handmade paper. Oh I could write thousands of words about the paper I was writing thousands of words on. What would be the point you would think? What's the point of anything when the world has crumbled. Am I being too dramatic? Well ok let's say the world has crumpled - like a ball of paper squeezed in the hands of a child. The world is as small as the living room that I sit in. The world is the couch I rest my potato behind on, while potato chips lay scattered on the coffee table in front of me. Are Pringles really potato chips though? Not really they say. Who says? The damn ads and the damn internet. That's the only people who say anything these days. Opinions and voices have shrunk to the size of bite sized Tweets, and Buzzfeed lists, and Tiktok videos, and Instagram boomerangs.

Maddening nutshells, shrunk to the size of a nut so small that you can barely see it, without the added advantage of the nut having any wisdom to it. 

So you effectively have billions of other fleshy behinds desperately out of jobs or working from home. You have these effective billions trying to effect change by screaming at their handheld devices and their Macbook screens. Screaming in caps-lock and frantically typed statuses seeking attention, an escape from the loneliness.

No, that's not accurate, loneliness in only a part of the whole. It is the hole in the donut lying stale and well iced in my pile of snacks. It is an absence sure.

But what is ever present is the dull monotony of being forced from our granted habits.

Our parties after dark. Our midnight drunk ravings in crowds for a lark.

So is this a protest against tedium? The question itself is a protest against the monotonous cycle of sleep, shit, eat, brow-beat, weep, repeat.

There are actual protests too. Inspired by events so powerful that the good health of a sound mind is of little consequence to the sound mind. Damn the sound body when sound minds face indignities that make the masses rise against the oppression of a long history of Indignity.

But what day is it? I ask.

Whom do I ask? 

I laugh at myself in the mirror, wash my hands after popping out for a laundry run.

Then I ask the question again, facing my multicolor towers of Pringles and contemplate again writing thousands of words about writing thousands of words on fine handmade rich textured paper.

What day is it? I ask the Sun as he rises with all the arrogance of Apollo himself.

I scowl at arrogance - the internet is layered thickly in it, and boy are the layers thickening. Like the earth itself the internet grows rich with history from its first birth in the nineties. Layers and layers of opinions and trolls like the thick ornate tapestries of History itself.

But I digress. Wait I digress from what to what?

Well my whole tirade is about structure, or more appropriately the lack of it. But does this justify the lack of structure in the tirade itself. It is unforgivable.

Or is it?

Is everything forgivable because of the times I live in? Is my lack of strength justified? Or is it more imperative that I show strength and stoicism in these bizarre times. Like a solid pillar of solid society, now devolved into a mass of talking heads on social media screens in little isolated living rooms smattered around the planet.

Social media SCREAMS.

But what day is it?

Do I dare pick up my little idiot-smart phone? 

Do I dare let the suggestions and the suggested news articles and notifications drag me under? Such is the price of knowledge of Time.

It will suck you into its vortex like a supermassive black hole.

Stephen Hawking is laughing in his grave, may he rest in peace.

I might as well cavort about with the other Stephen. Devour all seven books of the King's Dark Tower series. Sit on my fleshy behind and devour books, and pints of Ben and Jerry's. Just consume, consume, consume. 

There's something about the open fields that makes you want to more than consume, that makes you want to produce. 

There's something about groups huddled near winter bonfires, eyeing the smiles on each other's faces in pre-corona times, no masks on.

There's something about thinking about a beautiful smile on a random face in the milling crowd at the end of the day, that makes you say - yes, life has a point, there's a meaning to all this. Camus was a fool. He was the absurd one while we went about our business on Wall Streets full of purpose and meaning in our little lives revolving around having just enough money to send our kids off to colleges and buy ourselves decent coffins or grand cremations. Just enough to live a life of struggle like a donkey being led by a carrot over the abyss. The void that is the disintegration of the cell into molecules and atoms that blend into the dust and the wind and the ocean.

Puts things in perspective as my bottom hurts from too much sitting and my back aches from bad posturing. Well at least I'm saved from social posturing and social masks.

What day is it?

I wake up from stinking unwashed sheets bleary eyed and look down my window into the streets.

Silence.

Far from the Hardy's Madding Crowd, a crowd separated by Time now, not by Space.

It's funny how the so called pseudo "Fourth Dimension" asserts itself by becoming meaningless as the days blend into each other, and the only voices outside my head are the tiny voices one screen unlock away on devices we used as status symbols on these streets once.

But my mother misses me and wants to switch to a video call.

I straighten my hair, batten down my collar, wash my face, erase my dolor.

What day is it?

"Happy Birthday son!"

I may not have a sense of Time, but my biological clock trudges on mercilessly.

March 11, 2021 05:46

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3 comments

Nina Chyll
16:29 Mar 17, 2021

The title made me click - I couldn't possibly imagine what the story would be about based on just that but it was strangely intriguing!

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Yvone Mthembu
09:13 Mar 15, 2021

Loved it Ishan what I really loved is the fact that your story is the only story I read for this prompt which didn't have a date,although the character did activities on a daily basis. It a good think I always have a dictionary on hand as well as internet connection , you surely know how to take me back to the time of the greatest writers .Spot on as always

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Ishan Chopra
19:16 Mar 15, 2021

Thank you for the praise :) Yeah I basically wrote this in a "stream of consciousness" style - just immediately putting down whatever came into my head. This helped create the impression of the days seamlessly blending together. Appreciate that you noticed it.

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