My desk is a piece of art. That is because I see it every day. It is lithe, angular, white like marble. It stretches from one corner to another, a liaison between two walls, between two pieces of my life: the actual and the mediated. The former is growing scarcer, I’m loath to report, because school. I’m too afflicted with chronic vexation to elaborate on this sore topic. Suffice to say that it’s been some good weeks since I’ve left campus. Bill’s doesn’t count, though, since it’s still Forsyth and the presence of the College magnetizes, malevolent, even there.
No, one must be at least ten miles away to feel freedom. Freedom is felt chiefly with the ears, in case you didn’t know. It’s probably the legacy of our ancestors the dogs. When you’re rolling on a road, any godforsaken road, window down, ears flapping in the wind, and you’re moving away and not toward, that’s the life. You feel yourself liberated, the shackles undone. You rub your wrists to alleviate the pain or to check if they’re still there. Yes, I have a body, you conclude exhilarated, a whole body not just an ass, not just flesh that sits but flesh that moves and runs, blood that flows with glee delivered from stagnation. You rediscover small organic weaknesses like panting and flushing from all the movement, and it’s like an epiphany.
You want to run and hug strangers on the street, tell them you’re so happy that legs hold you up, that there’s all this sinew that you’d forgotten about, and it’s still there, and you’d almost lost hope, thought you’d turned to stone sitting at your desk, probably your resting place too. You used to be Homo Erectus, but adapting to the circumstances had developed into Homo Sedentarius. What a bad dream, you shake it off at once. Then you come to, and your fingers are still typing, eyes narrowed into the incandescent screen. It was the escape that was the dream. You’re not going anywhere. Still Homo Sedentarius, wasting your time with callow daydreams. And in the meantime, there’s the desk.
Fifty pages of pompous poppycock, equals exactly two weeks of zombie-scribbling, equals coffee scent that’s so deep into my clothes, into my flesh, that I’ve resigned myself to making it permanent. But hold that razor – I think the end is near. Everybody hates their thesis, he tells me, and I nod. But no, wait a minute, actually, I wanted to like it. In fact I remember a time when I did, it seems an antediluvian time, it must have been before I plunged into the quagmire headfirst, thinking it was water. I couldn’t see well, it was dark. Now this slimy creature’s enslaved me and won’t let me go. He says his name’s Perfection, the bully, but I just call him Dick, since that’s what he is. The end is near, I whisper to quiet myself down. The end is near. The sobs are dying down. One more guileful promise like this and I’ll fall asleep.
Friends? I don’t know you anymore. I’m quite lost to the world, as the situation will have it, but there’s still hope left for you. So save yourselves. Just run, toward the light. I’ll just close these blinds to see the screen better, and I think I’ll seal them with tape too, since I don’t think I’m ever getting out of here. And you know what? get me some chocolate when you’re out, please.