The Hamlet Moment

Another day, another afternoon spent in nothing. Of course, having a reversed sleep pattern means that his ‘day’ is just beginning. Fighting the urge to go back to sleep, he watched the afternoon sunlight slanting through the patterned glass, making iridescent patterns on the marble floor. He used to appreciate the beauty in little things like that. Not anymore.

Now it’s a constant stream of bitching and swearing, of tackling depression and withstanding loneliness. Now it’s sarcasm, cynicism, and skepticism; the three pillars of urban existence. God, it’s so pathetic, it’s not even funny anymore. Feeling suddenly annoyed, he reached for his cigarettes and lit one, moodily inhaling before getting off the bed to find the ashtray.

Is this what his life has come to, this life of echoing bitterness, or is this the way it’s always been and he’s only realizing it now? So much for the boy with potential. So much for the compliments and the praise. So much for the talent. So much for the trophies and the applause and the acknowledgements. So much for everything he’s tried to make himself believe.

Memories of the thoughts he had before he fell asleep that morning lingered in his mind. He was thinking about destiny, about that somewhat esoteric and abstract notion that life is preordained by something greater. He was wondering what his was or if he even had one, considering how it feels as though he’s been circling around without a clear destination in sight. Perhaps he took a wrong turn and missed it? Perhaps his destiny lies in the journey and not the destination? But then how could he ever get there if there is no there to begin with?

No wonder he fell asleep. It was much easier to run away than to deal with questions he had no way of answering.

He thought about opening the door and facing the world but even the sounds from the streets were too invasive and oppressive, much less actually having to face people and their incessant blathering. A smile formed on his lips when he remembered something. He used to imagine smashing people head in when they were talking to him. He’d hold their gaze and maintain his expression, while in his head the other person is writhing in pain and covered in blood. The thoughts disturbed him at first because although he was aware of his own psychosis, he was never really sure of just how much.

Thankfully that’s over and done with, though he’s not exactly sure if the change has been for the better. Now he feels close to nothing when he talks to people. He’d see the lips move and hear the words and notice the inflection and intonation, memorize them even, but he still felt nothing.

Looking down at the ashtray, he realized that he’s been chain smoking while sitting on the floor and staring out the window at nothing, letting his mind ramble on. Oh, well. Cogito ergo sum. At least he still exists. But does that mean you stop thinking when you’re dead? Do spirits think? He stubbed his cigarette out while wondering idly if Descartes would be able to answer that question.

Reluctantly he stood up and thought about what to do. Interesting how everyday he deals with the same question. What to do? As if there were an obligation to do something. As if simply being is not enough. As if he is not enough. He squinted and stopped that train of thought. No. Best not to go there. Not now, anyway. Better save some insanity for later days.

But he couldn’t stop thinking about it. Rooted at the same spot, figuratively and otherwise, he imagined how boring it would be if someone were to observe him day in and day out. People want action. They want movement, change, excitement, suspense, drama. Life. They’re crawling, walking, running to wherever it is they’re heading and yet he’s just standing there watching, listening, observing. Simply existing.

Maybe he should start walking forward. But where? Even his body stopped responding then. He just stood there at the window, silently staring at nothing, his limbs refusing to move. In a hundred years people will break in his room and find him there, one hand on the glass as though he’s trying to break free and failed. Suspended in time and space.

He sighed, sat back down, and lit another cigarette. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day. Maybe tomorrow he’ll find the answers and somehow find the strength to escape and walk on. But today he can only do what he does best, and exist.


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