Tucked far in the depths of my hard drive was this piece I wrote in college. I was inspired to write something Salinger-y after reading The Catcher in the Rye and took a stab at it here. This was my first piece of fiction and one that hooked me on writing, though I’ve edited a little now, 10 years later. Enjoy.
I made no attempt to explain myself as I meandered through the hall avoiding my mother this morning. It’s not as if I was going to get in trouble taking the 26 steps toward my car, a 21-minute drive, and another 317 steps out of the car, into the cold, out of the cold, and into coffeeshop. It’s not as if my mother would stop me either, but explaining the explicit details of my hours aren’t how I plan to spend them.
I wasn’t outside for long and yet I was freezing, even in this place with 23 bodies pumping heat into the air around me. I waited behind eight people for five minutes and received my black coffee 42 seconds after I ordered… the exact same time as the man five places in front of me received his special-order espresso drink. People will wait an infinite amount of time and pay ridiculously more money for anything, as long as it’s more distinguished than someone else’s choice. I let the cup heat my frigid hands as I found my table built for four and sat alone in the corner facing those in line. I flooded my ears with music, but there’s no use drowning out the reality of what’s been submerged and what I am going to describe is going to come wading out one way or another.
I never understood why flocks of people sheltering MacBook’s with careful arms sat in coffeeshops, but I’m coming to understand the similarity we share as I sheepishly join in. We are insane. Not to the same degree, but it’s true for every soul who sulks to let his or her deepest thoughts marinate with no outlet. And being insane isn’t being crazy, and it isn’t half bad. It’s enlightening to hear what the normal claim it to be… because they would definitely know.
Memories in my mind claw at the wall of sanity until holes break wide enough for reality to peer through, and while the sane are stuck in a matrix, the insane are dealt the occupation to describe our clarity without breaking down the wall that keeps the sane so safe. We walk a tight line to entertain… to make people laugh, and cry, and feel all of the emotions that are so hard to feel ourselves. It’s easy to wear a mask and play fun to provoke feelings in humans. It’s what we all do best.
I know there are plenty of people like me; I’m looking around a room occupied by a few right now, but what I am, I can’t exactly describe past my insanity. It’s being a person who knows misery, but shows happiness. And it’s appearing less real than you are for the sake of protecting the truth from crushing an average person’s soul. We, the people like me, live in solitude within society; enjoying our days before allowing the demons to toy with our heads at night. This heroism is in all of us, fighting with no reason other than empathy to maintain the wall that spares the sane.
I know what I’m sharing is dark, but light may find its way into the strangest of places and disperses infinitely until it reaches a surface to warm. And yes, this is dark, but we create our own light, only the spectrum our eyes limits our capacity to see.