I tell people until I get the perfect reaction. I tell people until I find the one person who doesn’t cry, doesn’t choke up, doesn’t suddenly look at me with the same wild horror that currently rules my brain… I tell people until I find the person who doesn’t even flinch, who sits in an office chair and continues to look at me as if I have all the time left in the world, as if I’ve just said something as normal as “I had cornflakes for breakfast.” And who, after clarifying exactly what I mean, simply says, “I agree, that’s crap.” And continues to give me the most depressing, but reassuring pep talk I think I’ve ever heard – the main conclusion of which is that my life is very simple now because nothing matters, and that sustaining this level of worry is impossible and that soon I will become bored of this newfound weight of my own mortality. I tell people until I realise that all I was looking for was some normality among the absurdity, a calm unmoving pillar among the shifting sands of chaos. And when I find that, to my relief, I find that I can stop telling people.
Right now I keep having to tell myself over and over and over and I still can’t make it feel real again. The last time I told someone was the first time I said it without crying. It didn’t mean that I had suddenly accepted everything and decided it was perfectly fine, I think it simply meant that I had cried all the tears I had to give. It felt surreal.
But he was right. It has simplified things. Nothing matters. And that’s quite refreshing, kind of liberating. How ironic that being faced with utter hopelessness took away the pain of losing hope. On the group chat they want me to send them pictures of my work. Life has not given me a bigger fish to fry, it has given me a whale, and I no longer care about their plankton problems. I tell them I’m busy, finally get out of the bed, and get on the underground. I end up at Kew Gardens station. I bump into a man who sees me wandering a little aimlessly and asks where exactly I want to go. I say the Thames. I want to walk by the river. I don’t tell him why. I follow his directions and I find the Thames, but here it doesn’t look like London, it looks like something from a film.
I’m overtaken by dozens of joggers; I stupidly wore running shoes and it takes all my willpower to stop myself running off after them or just jumping into the Thames, but it’s impossible to be stressed here. So I just walk. And I worry about… Nothing. I watch the ducks and I freak out when the geese fly a little too close and I don’t know what my brain thinks about but it isn’t anything important. And I just keep walking. Until the sun sets. And then I turn around.
I can’t run from this one. I’m not even going to try.