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 now, treaded 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 these 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 we all had to bear for the sake of a Bachelor’s degree; an episode of life that was nothing more but 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.