Today I stood in the middle of a sea: a great white sea of papers and parchments and pain crashing one after the other with all the madness of a tidal wave, screaming to kiss the shores with all the urgency of a ticking time bomb.
I stood in the middle of the raging waters and looked longingly at the immeasurable vastness of this now foreign territory; an ocean-deep of memories from my five-year stay at the university. Piles and piles of papers lay before me like flowing river: test papers, term papers, thesis drafts, photocopied pages of books from all of my adored authors, sheets of scratch and sentiments.
I looked each of them with wistful eyes, trying not to remember the long tough days when I once clung onto them like a child, like my whole life depended on every single word written on their pages. I read these words and trod on them carefully as if trying to extract a secret code, to see if maybe I had missed something important in all of my five-year education in philosophy.
But in the end I only see words words words and the absence of their context, their meaning, and realize that maybe I could never think again as deeply as when I did when I was there in the university, face to face with the unspeakable colors of dusk, the gentle breeze wheezing from the lonely river nearby, the gentle rhythm of trees swaying as in a dance, the sound of students’ laughter seeping through the cracks of time.
In the midst of these papers, I see it, hear it, feel it between my bones: the rough life I once had as a thriving college student, the nightmare I had to carry for the sake of a Bachelor’s degree; an episode of life that was nothing more but a trade, a barter. A pile of term papers in exchange for another piece of paper: this diploma which I am itching to burn along with the rest of these books, these certificates, these memories.
I took away from my desk and my shelves a plethora of school papers and threw them in a lonely corner of the room, while I spent the remaining of my energy shifting and shuffling the furnitures, trying to figure out if changing their positions could somehow shatter the familiarity I have with the world and cut me from the rest of everything I have known and have memorized in my life.
Tell me how does one live in the absence of routine—without pattern, without rhythm, without words?
A few weeks prior to graduation, I heard my classmates scream about their post-grad plans and I was taken aback by their complacency like it was too easy for them to carve out a map of their after-college lives, and in my head I figured, cartography.
In between graduation pictorials and the many grueling ordeal of graduation rehearsals, I heard them dream—the promises of law school, grad school, corporate jobs, foreign lands. I thought to myself what a great thing it must be to live, to let yourself live. When they asked me of my plans, I always imagine the sea, the skies: the weightlessness of air and water fusing into one and becoming invisible and immaterial, and I think of death and forgetting and paradise.
I have stopped dreaming a long time ago, and realized it only when I finally asked myself what I really wanted in life and found no real answer but the resounding silence of nothing. But this is not painful, not tragic, not sad. I do not deem myself lost, but wandering—wandering like an old naiad stuck in a body of a human.
I tell myself, July—the promise of time ringing sharply from a steady distance, the pressure of action wailing like an old widow, and here I am today, standing in the middle of this makeshift sea, waiting wanting wishing for no one; the fragments of yesterday thrown and tucked away, like my books and my papers, in some lonely shelf in the garage; the pieces of future completely limp and lost, no longer to arrive like youth and wild days; and the present is a blur.
I tell myself, here I am.
I am so close to emptying this soul and swimming back to the sea.