Wasted Time

“I will do something today”, she thought. “I will be productive today”, she said. Sitting on a park bench to escape her stumbling mind, confused and distracted by ticking and whirring and rumbling. Usually wandering into the trap of the colours and sounds of pictures and words. “Here there is no way to be distracted”, she said, sitting in the quiet with nothing but the soft breeze and the blowing leaves, with the occasional twitter or rustle or creak. But she was wrong. The silence and the sound worked together to switch her mind to autopilot as it sang a song barely there.

With one slow blink of a sleepy eye and the flutter of the blank pages in the notebook sitting on her lap, she was whisked away into a world that was entirely her own. Distracted by the moments passing by, the dusty flecks of time creeping and flying at the same time, unsure of how that could even be. Caught up in what has been and what hasn’t been and what could be. The things that could be if only she could focus.

If only she could open her eyes. If only her body wasn’t floating amongst the whirls of the wind, while her hair tumbled, smothering her breaths and her thoughts. If only all she could see and all she couldn’t see wasn’t blended into one. If only there wasn’t that one face that appeared in front of her eyes and in the back of her mind alternately and all at once. If only his touch wasn’t all she could feel and his voice wasn’t all she could hear. Stuck in a loop of the past and what couldn’t be changed, and at the same time, reaching for a future that couldn’t be seen. All her senses worked together, seeing and hearing things that she wanted, but couldn’t be planned. Riding a carousel moving forwards and backwards at the same time, somehow riding identical horses. Music screeched, playing and rewinding simultaneously, filling her ears. Surrounded by the brightest, most blinding white and the darkest, most piercing black.

Everything happened in one single blink. Or that’s what it felt like. Reaching the end of a road that wasn’t even there, she fell down a hole and back down to earth. Her eyes opened and she was no longer stuck, floating, in a world of moments that were so unclear. Her mind was blank, but at the same time bustling and crowded, filled with noise that was muffled and not quite there. It had felt like a second, but also felt like days.

The park was different now that she had woken up, she didn’t know where she had been, or if she had been anywhere at all. Still there, but absent. There was an eerie quiet surrounding her. As if she had come back from a concert having been surrounded by pounding music for so long that it had nested in her ears and her soul. Leaving her ears ringing and longing for sound to fill the silence that felt like it shouldn’t be.

The wind was no longer blowing softly, and everything was still. She heard no rustles or crackles or squeaks. The sunlight no longer filtered through the trees, leaving speckles on the ground. The day grew old as the last splashes of colour were just disappearing from the sky, painting a whole new picture of the dim twilight. The ringing in her ears stopped as they searched for the softest of sounds, like the creek trickling over rocks and pebbles.

She closed her blank notebook and pocketed her pen, the sound of papers colliding, startling and hindering the movement of waking mammals. Standing up, having not kept her promise to herself, she said, “I guess that’s what I get for wasting time.”