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The pressing need to hang an announcement board around her neck re-emerged into mind. Clawing its way to make it known amidst the ocean of pressing needs and wants. She didn’t brush it off like the last time. More like she gave it a thought, wondering what kind of sentence she would’ve wrote on the board. Probably something like suck it peeps, I’m done for the day, please return on working hours or be civilized, people, I’m not your favorite person to get her patience running off. Whichever was fine, really. She never wanted the day her idea morphed into reality to come anyway.

She still found it very intriguing, though.Read More »

alias

The routine is killing him.

He thinks this as he soaring through the sidewalk packed with dead people. He, along with them, walks with a specific destination in mind, but it isn’t them who set it. Neither their brains nor hearts nor souls nor whatever inside them. It’s the system outside. The stigmas. The rules. They’re bonded and controlled by something unseen, created by human themselves. It moves their bodies, even tainting their decisions.

As he closes his apartment door behind his back, he lets out a protest sigh. Not sure for whom he aims it. A whole second need to pass in crawl for him to realize that the sigh is just one of the routine he has as he comes back from work. He throws his bag to the corner of the room. Takes off his suit, walks to the bedroom, fighting with drowsiness as he showers, walks to the kitchen with only towel covering his lower body, grabs whatever inside the refrigerator, eats and drinks in silent, and then flops to his bed without even changing to his pajama. Before sleepiness hits him right, he catches the glimpse of the alarm clock. Ten in the night. He still has seven hours of sleep.

He hopes.

He wakes up at one whatever in the morning. Drenched in sweats and tears. Out of breath. He clutches his chest and then hugs himself under the blanket, fighting back the nightmare he fails to remember. While holding his ugly sobs and pretending there is no gaping hole inside him, he tries to sleep again. But he’s still wide awake when his alarm clock finally rings. He curses and sits. After dressing on his tracksuit, he breaks through the coldness of late autumn and takes a light jog. He feels the need to shake off the bad emotions from his gaping hole before going to work. It’s totally unacceptable to work in a bad shape. He wouldn’t be functioning properly.

Exercising is the only activity he takes for granted beside sleep and eat. He’s really glad that there’s still something left to cherish him. It’s kind of lie if he says he still appreciates sleeping, actually. Sleeping has turned into something he can’t fully enjoy as it will only reduce a small amount of fatigue, but keeps confronting him to nightmare. But at least, sleeping helps him to cut ties with reality for a moment—for this morning’s case, it’s for three hours. In which, he would gladly enjoy the thing he actually hates. And then, there is eating. Or, let’s be specific, miso ramen. He’s always longing for a hot and salty taste of miso ramen. Though it’s no longer taste that good on his tongue no matter how craves he is for it, it’s still taste much better than any food he has eaten. So, he would treat himself to a bowl or two of miso ramen whenever he ‘s totally exhausted. For jogging, somehow, it has the same effect as sleeping. After an hour of jog, he feels fresh as if he’s woken up from a deep slumber. He feels the same sensation as if he’s running away from whatever grazing his back with a knife and succeed. This is the only way to make his heart beating as if he’s alive. And he feels grateful that this kind of activity wouldn’t attack him with a series of horror images that keeps him awake through the night.

Yet, he can’t shake free from the thought that it’s just a matter of time until he hates exercising just like how he is with sleeping. Maybe after that, he could properly die without dying again. Even a bowl of miso ramen wouldn’t save him.

He jogs in high pace. Thirty minutes is enough for him to erodes bad emotion from the nightmare. He returns to his apartment feeling pumped. This is even better than the caffeine he can’t finally enjoy, breaking the tunnel vision he had since he woke up. After showering with lighter feeling, he goes out from the apartment and starts the hellish routine.

He buys a poorly made meat bun—two packs. He eats them as he waits for the train. After cleansing his throat with mineral water, he cramps himself inside the train with another dead people and the excellent effect from jogging this morning is eventually corroding.

***

By evening, he dies again.