Thursday, February 26, 2015

Stop Doing Anything

You awaken just after midnight, feeling an electrical shock in your chest. You breathe, check your pulse, and wait. The street lights flicker through the blinds. You dream awhile. A few hours later you're up again, minutes before the alarm, wondering why you opted to teach at eight in the morning.

You remind yourself, "I've been here before," and you sort through notes. You think about every time you delivered this lecture, every time you elided important details, how you promised yourself you'd cover them better next time. You read emails that remind you how distant you've become, from writing, from friends, from family.

You take the metro, ankle it to your building, and chatter at the guard downstairs.

три, ноль, семь.

That's your room number: "307."

The old man asks questions you can't answer. Eventually he hands you a key. You welcome the class with that fixed smile, but your students figure it out quickly enough. Today is, well, it's hard to explain.

They have that look; you've seen it before.

"Is he going to pull this off?"

You do, barely.

They serenade with friendly "thank you's" as you hit the streets, remembering to return that key.

You stumble a bit, only hitting your stride as you slap a card against the scanner at the metro station. There will be no seats now, it's rush hour, but you don't care. You climb the stairs to your flat but keep walking past your floor. A bit dazed, you descend and work the lock. You'll hole up for the rest of the day.

You recall the wisdom of Homer Simpson.

"Note to self," he said. "Stop doing anything." 

Good advice. At least today.

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