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Nocturnal

I can’t sleep. I lie here listening to the faint whirr of the fan, Adam breathing softly beside me and Gus snoring two rooms over. I can feel my heart thudding steadily in my chest and it reassures me.

When we were at the waterfall the other day we stood for quite a while on the little observation deck high above the mist. I remember staring at the constant frothy flow and realizing that for every day I had been alive, it had been here, just like this. For every moment and experience and thought I’ve ever had, every celebration or disgrace, it had been here, rushing an unending stream of water over its edge, for the most part completely unchanged. That reassured me too.

I finished Room. It wasn’t half as disturbing as I thought it would be, my months of avoidance and dread were unnecessary and in fact, I found myself wanting more. I wished we could have heard Ma’s side of the story, I found myself wanting to know how she coped. How she managed.

I also began wondering about our lives and the rooms we live in, bound by routine and expectation and a strict sense of how things should be, and how utterly impossible it seems to break free of all the bullshit. Is this what we’re doing? Is all of this worth it, is it a good enough trade off for two weeks of vacation a year and a big house? And if not, how to you politely refuse it without seeming crazy, without completely alienating yourself or others?

We’ve become so uncomfortable with wanting. Not wanting and getting but just, wanting. Desiring something without being able to attain it. I think all sorts of modern day evils can be ascribed to our unfamiliarity with this most delicious of states: infidelity, debt, obesity, ADHD, crime, depression, facebook.

It’s not enough now to simply desire something, to feel the irresistible pull of lust and attraction, imagining yourself possessing it, imagining who you would be if you had it. No, the desire must be satiated and the wanting must be cured by getting, even though we all know that much of the fun is in the wanting itself.

Never mind, we whisper, onto the next one.

The cycle begins anew.

Can we be content with just wanting? Are we really so simple that we don’t realize that every time one desire is fulfilled another crops up in its place? Our life becomes like an infuriating game of whac-a-mole, but the stakes are far higher than a stuffed toy or a sweaty handful of tickets. I’m stuck here too, rubber mallet in hand, alternating wildly between decrying the system and wanting desperately to avail myself of its trappings.

This is what I think about as I lay quietly unable to sleep, trying to sync the thrumming of my heart with the swift chopping of the fan.

Waterfalls and wanting. The gilded cages we build for ourselves and the things we keep buying in futile attempts to get ourselves out.

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