I stare at the ground, looking through the core of the Earth so I can see you on the other side. It is incomprehensible that we share the same sun. Across time and space it sits in your eyes perfectly, makes those mismatched clothes of yours brighter than they need to be. You’re awake like always and I don’t know how you do it. This early in the unreasonable morning and you’re already moving and grooving with them all and without me: your long-time, your newlywed, your pyrotechnic people I can never remember the name of. Samba, samba, continents away! Oh yes, you’re awake, I can hear it from here.
And I’m almost running late for this godforsaken job, my night shift across the diameter of the globe, the sky turning into a darker azure each minute. You love that I hate it, you profit off it. I take the calls from everywhere and everyone, and every single line that connects, it’s you and then not you. Well, tonight I’m dressed well if you want to dial in, or come visit me yourself. I have a button up designer shirt I bought on sale and my shoes were polished the other day by a lady with fried and frizzy hair. She did a good job. I think the name ‘Eleanor Rigby’ would suit her.
My shoes are so goddamn shiny now. I see my reflection in them - walking into the lobby reflects all those corporate lights like a leather foot disco. I reckon you’d laugh at your own warped face mirrored in my shoe, if you were here with me. Anyways.
I take my seat in the office. The night starts yet again, and the day goes on for you, all samba’d up by now and probably having some early lunch – with your friends again, I assume. You would have a picnic. You would cut up sourdough bread with your favourite little knife. I can see the specks of bread sawing off from here… God. You’re not aware of how cherished you are, and it’s another thing I adore and despise you for. Everyone either wants you or wants to be you. I assume you grew up like that.
I’ve been trying to eat more myself, recently. For my long shifts like tonight, I buy the end-of-day special in the afternoon to nibble on in my lonely cubicle. I promised myself I’d be consistent with it. I buy from that cute corner place, you know? The one you never tried.
And so it goes, my shift. Eight billion people phone in, ask about room reservations, if they can smoke indoors and what the hotel noise rules are. I tell them, then everyone suggests tiny manipulations to them, each slightly different but with the same motive, expecting me to bend my job ‘round their comfort. I send emails, type up customer requests, do some admin, stick it out. Master of the keyboard, both of us.
You know, I’ve been working here for so long that sometimes the ringing of a phone plays on in my mind even when I’m off-shift, the hallucinations like white noise. Sometimes I wonder if there’s a place, or if there ever will be one, that’s completely silent from any noise. Like, dead silent to the point where I can hear my own arteries keeping me alive, to the point where the irrational fades away and I can only hear biology. I don’t like to hear my own heart, no. I only would because I have to. Maybe then I could really hear you from the other side of the world.
You’d hate the silence, the serenity. You would make something out of it, and I hate how you do that. I can’t create things out of thin air like you do – you’re immortal, you’re inhuman, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, and you don’t understand how I can’t. I can’t. I’m stuck here with my own senses, nothing but. Everything I write is only about my feelings and about shitty hotel shifts and the only thing I can do about that is write about my feelings and shitty hotel shifts through my senses. Though you don’t care. About me. About life. Who imitates you.
You don’t understand that it takes so much. When I finish my night shift and you’re so far away, starry-eared all over, pull the universe of your mind out like tissues from a clown sleeve and put it on your bedside table, you go to sleep and still see things that I don’t. You have cascading spirits through your windows and pagan-looking birds with ten legs. You see the asymmetrical and overripe, you have magical bear ears. You sleep in surround sound brilliance and fascinating rhythm.
What do I have, when I come home from work and the sun gets in my eyes, on my un-samba’d body? I can only do so much. I can only try to fend off the mortality of sleep to create, make, conjure, create. I’m fibrous, arterial, I’m not you nor do I have you. I put so much into it, my time, soul, sound of my heart, everything I know about the eight billion people ringing. All my mediocre eyes can take in, all my writing I try to pack like muscles round a bone just to get to you.
Is there not something you can say to me? Call me, write to me, sing to me. Is there not a single thing you can do to tell me I’m doing a good job? To tell me to rest? To tell me the world is beautiful and to live in it?
I know you’d know what to do if you were in my position, I know what you’d tell me I don’t know. You would tell me there’s so much to make out of so much. That I’m a human being with everything it entails, and I have to make the most of it.
To you, I say you make me feel like death. I’m tired and need to go to sleep and you can’t do that to me. On my days off I have three-hour long meltdowns. You make me stupid, you make me feel stupid, you make me referentially manic. You make me see the flaws in everyone that isn’t you, you send me into the worst bouts of isolation, the worst depressive episodes I have ever lived. You know that you, dressed in your neon yellow, and I, in my tattered sleeping shirt, will never meet. And you like it like that because you profit off it. Everyone’s mediocrity is what makes you so beautiful, genius. That’s what sends explosions behind my eyes. I can’t do anything about it.
Just work work work till when?