Staring at the fucking wall.
It’s the same damn wall. Double layer of paint, the brush strokes obvious on the bump not sanded down quite right. A shitty attempt to cover where the rollers failed.
Just stare at the same damn wall again and again. Focus on. Focus on anything. The yellow. It’s yellow. Fill my mind with yellow. Push out all the memories, thoughts, obsessions revolving around, round and round, round and round, push them as far into my skull, away from the inside of me, to edge of my skin. Focus on anything to keep it at bay.
The door creaks, pushed open. She peers in. I turn my head, over my shoulder. A slight shake of the head. She double blinks, her little habit when she tries to smile a hopeful smile. Hopeful. It’s hopeful. It gives me a second of only seeing her, and no-one else. No words, faces, anything. Just her. She leaves with the little shake of my head. I go back to staring at the wall. Lying, wrapped in my duvet. I find the world cold. My legs tired, muscles ache.
The day is bright. It illuminates my room from the thin curtains, and the gap they have. Unclench my fists. Pain stabs through my hand. I didn’t even realise. Nail marks have become the lines that predetermine my future.
Roll out, literally, pushing the duvet away, rubbing my face into my pillow as I figure out how to work my legs, just trying to get out. Stumble to my window, sneak a peek through the gap in the curtains. It’s so damn bright. Leave them closed, fall back down onto my bed. Take in the piles that take up my space. Newspapers and magazines, neatly stacked, balanced, between the soft broadsheets and the thicker glossy paper, alternating, on my desk. Clothes, in hangers, folded over themselves, the metal wires tucked in so not to hurt the midnight wanderers. Bags, and books, so many books, and shoes, and lotions, and towels, neatly folded in pile on the desk chair.
There’s comfort in the small pathway the things provide. A little stability.
Take the path to the door. Hand on the cold knob. Twist.
Keep them shut. A little tighter. No glow from the natural light. Just a second of being in the same place. As soon as my eyes are open, I am away. Distanced from the stability behind me. It would be so easy to close the door again, hide back in my little world of piles and the same faces and thoughts that taunt me. Pick up a paper, and place it back down. Move the edges in, perfectly lined up with the rest of them.
People said it loads. Tried to understand, and make me understand. Nothing bad’ll happen if you don’t keep touching the edges, or, God hasn't based your destiny on whether the papers line up sweetie. For a while it turned to, She’s attention-seeking, whispered in the garden under my open window, and, She doesn't even keep doing it the same number of times... There’s nothing wrong with her.
There’s nothing wrong with me. I don’t do it seventeen times because that number has some recurrent theme in my life, or four times for the four of us in my family. I do it, continuously until the thought, whichever one it is that day, the face or words or memory, go out of my mind for one second, so I can let go, and hope – God, I hope – that with that little action of aligning whatever and ending that thought at the same time, that thought will be locked away and ended with the end of that action. It’s about hope. I do these things, and it’s become a habit, in some hope that one day the second of peace will extend onto the next action, and the next, so I can walk about and do my things without a clogging up of my mind, and an anxiety building because I cannot perform a coping mechanism.
There’s nothing wrong with me. It’s about hope. It’s a coping mechanism. Because without it, I’d go mad.