Empty Days

There were days when she simply wasn’t there. Entire days during which she worked on autopilot, keeping her head down and moving from one place to the next: from bed to the breakfast table and from there to the bus which took her to work and on and on until she was back in bed. She knew what was happening during those days – she was in there, somewhere, behind the dead eyes that looked out at the world – but she was stuck in some sort of conscious torpor, unable to speak a sincere word or process a complex thought.
She could never predict when this sort of day might occur. It could be a bright, sunny day in early June – then she’d miss the beauty of the hummingbirds surrounding the trees in the garden and the sweet smell of night-blooming flowers that wafted in through the windows during dinner. Sometimes it would be a blustery, rainy day in November, and she’d be immune to the blue mood that engulfed everyone else.
Whenever these days happened, she’d mark them down in her calendar when she woke up the next morning. She monitored the empty days, hoping and praying that they wouldn’t increase, but trying to find a pattern in them. Were they part of her menstrual cycle? Did they have something to do with her diet or the amount of exercise she took? She kept meticulous notes on all of her activities
She refused to believe that the empty days were absolutely random. If there were no triggers, she had no way to prevent them. If she couldn’t prevent them, then it was only a matter of time before she would walk off a bridge or in front of a speeding truck. She didn’t want to die, but the emptiness didn’t care about living.

Substantial Lack

Silence and emptiness are odd things. Both represent a lack, and yet they seem to be so substantial that you can acutely feel the presence of both.

Silence can fill your ears with its noise, making it deafening. Silence can drive you mad with the pitch of it, with the hum of it, with the absolute roar of it. You may shake your head to clear your ears of it or cough or make a noise so as to erase the presence of it. Sometimes it helps, and you’ll notice the creaks in the building and buzz of electricity and be calm, but sometimes the silence will press right back onto your mind, squeezing your head and almost hurting you with its tightness.

Emptiness can fill a room to the brim with the odd ache it causes. Sometimes it can fill a house full of furniture, making you feel utterly alone despite the things around you. Emptiness can weigh heavy on your heart and soul like a stone tied to them that is plunged into the ocean, pulling you into its depths and making you almost gasp from the need to be rid of it. You might go out into the street, run somewhere to meet friends, anything so as not to feel the aching emptiness, and it might work – but sometimes the emptiness will fill every space you reach and you won’t manage to disentangle yourself from its claws.

So strange, how lack can be so real, almost touchable.

Insert-Thriller-Novel-Name-Here: Preface

Most stories begin with a person. Some stories begin with an object – an enchanted ring, a lone chair in a meadow, strange stuff like that.

This here story begins with nothing. Not an object, and not a person. It begins with absolutely nothing, that is to say, just a vast, empty space, all contained inside a small test tube. The test tube is full of nothing. Vacuum. The absence of matter – all matter, liquid or solid or gas.

I sat there watching that emptiness and I tried to understand it. Tried to comprehend the meaning of total, utter emptiness. I couldn’t really understand it, no matter how hard I stared at it. This was when I was a young boy, seeingĀ  vacuum in the science lab for the first time.

Now, I feel as if I am facing an uncomprehensible loss, and now, as it was then, I’m staring at what is in front of my eyes and I cannot understand this emptiness, this lack that I’m facing.

How could I have gotten myself into this situation? How have I screwed myself over like this? Not for the first time, I wish I could turn back the clock…

I spend all my time between calls at work scribbling in my notebook. I was going to try to write some dialogue because I must practice that, and instead I wrote a weird preface to a cheap thriller novel about someone who’s lost everything due to something or other. Ah well, the creative mind takes us odd places, I suppose.