A WINDOW TO MY THOUGHTS

Drop. Dead. Silence. The intensifier of my hallucinations, the bane of my very existence. I am caged, and I wish it were behind indestructible cold metal bars. I am in shackles, and I wish they were clasped around my wrists and ankles. Instead I am trapped, pricked by the thorns of bondage in the comfort of my very own home. It would be less unnerving if I were amidst the laughter of my heartwarming friends, or in the company of people that I was comfortable enough with to call them my family - people that would make my house feel like more of a home. The Coronavirus pandemic has brought about a lot of things for a diverse majority of people. Things from newfound hobbies to new cyber friends, everlasting love and even heart-wrenching heartbreak. All being forms of drama of some sort. Whereas for me, it has only but augmented the truth I have been relentlessly attempting to shy away from: the existence and ever-growing presence of my loneliness. Sometimes I wished I did not have windows, for they are the most elementary doorway to stepping outside the confinement of my ignorance. The booming voices of ignorance that continuously hovered over my minuscule voice of reason. The voices that told me I did not need people to be happy. Through windows, I had front row seats to short episodes of people's lives. I could observe them basking in the joy that I could not share with them. During the winters, it would be James throwing snowballs at John. In the Summers it was the bikini body posse driving to the beach with excruciatingly loud music, waving their hands in the air out of the top of their roofless cars. My stomach would churn at the unfamiliarity of it all, and the nostalgia of when my life was once like that would cloud my thoughts like hawks over a freshly deceased corpse. Sometimes I dreaded the access I had to the internet, for it was just a window in disguise. The windows restricted by the borders of my walls just gave me a narrow scope of the life outdoors, whereas the internet would give me an analytical breakdown of what was happening across the globe. I would scroll past my timeline with mixed feelings of confusion and dejection. I would wonder how people managed to still be productive with all the unfortunate yet never-ending global occurrences, while I lay here, soaking in the stench of my self-pity. Drop. Dead. Silence. And a half-painted picture. With each bristle of my paintbrush that grazed against my canvas, I felt a shard of self-oppression break free. With each droplet of excess paint that escaped from the tip of my brush, I felt a flake of anxiety drop to the ground. It was a sensational occurrence I had only read about in books and seen on television but never one I had experienced personally. It was the feeling of liberation, that quenched the emptiness that had been hovering over me for a long time. But to prove to myself that my current feeling was not my brain putting up a temporary façade to numb my despondency, I had to continue my work in a place where I where I had the option to compare myself to other people but would choose not to; I had to paint outside. I watched as people scurried back to their homes - by car and on foot – which was understandable as the sun was already out of sight. These were people probably going back to their loving spouses, and unbearable yet lovable kids. People that were going back to places where they felt like they belonged. I, on the other hand, sat on the grass and took note of my environment. I noticed something new; something I could not see from the miniature scope of my window. I saw a man, that looked like he had not had a change of clothes for weeks, making himself comfortable on the gravel of the sidewalk. I saw a little girl, sobbing while a woman, who seemed to be her mother, dragged her into a sports car and drove off. I was mentally contemplating the peculiarity of it all as it was not something I was used to, not being the only one around my immediate surrounding going through a tough time. I decided then and there that I loved my life, and whatever had happened to me in the past to make me unsure of that fact was all that it was: in the past. I was going to let in everyone I had mentally kicked out of my life by withdrawing myself from their daily activities which I previously partook in. I realized I did not want to have someone else's life, nor did I want their seemingly everlasting joy, because I had my own. In the dead of the night, I dropped my paintbrush on the dew-holding grass for what was going to be the last time that day. Drop. Dead. Silence. And a complete painting birthed from raw emotion.

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Mike Lyles

Author of “The Drive-Thru is Not Always Faste...

Staresville, United States