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Our Modern Anxiety

No amount of books nor candles can swindle me out of the grips of my modern anxiety. Possessions only fester in the corner of my mind chartered for guilt. A dawdling nomad couldn’t carry the weight that’s on my shoulders. How do you find yourself, sharing pages upon pages of facile pathos like the hands of a teenage girl on the deep dark web? I find myself backed into the corner of my forlorn existence; a nugatory position for any jism of ambition. He laughed at me as he flicked his aged cigarette butt into my face, castrating any anticipation of approval. ‘you changed your bedsheets today. And you still feel depressed.’ Mocking my avocado-sourdough proficiency of how to deal with life I leapt back in cold sweat panic. He saw right through me. ‘You washed yourself today, but you still feel anxious.’ Neurotically I smelt each garment of unwashed clothing hoping to find the smell of my grandmother’s. I did not. Audaciously he caressed the inner thigh of my mind’s eye, soothing the oily hair, sweat stricken to the back of my neck. Hushed by the recognition of a solidified concurrence, I laid down. No primly chosen nail-polish, no 20-minute brisk walk over Hilly Fields, no overthought uber-eats order was going deter or subdue the company. The battle was lost.

As the vitality left my system the gnashing pains crept in. The goading compression in meus caput reached an all-time high and I sought to sooth this with gentle pleasantries and the hush of such sibilance, alas, the softer sounds surrendered in favour of frightening me with prickly plosive. Speaking seemed like an option until the pressing realisation arised that no one would listen. Bottles and bottles and cans and bottles impaired my ability to reasonably form a jury around me. A trial never ending. A prosecution only pretending. There’s no continuation if there’s no end. Ceasing to accept my fallibility I hauled the unshaven legs that had served me for 21 years up to my chest and I embodied the position of a foetus. If I can’t ravish in the rapture of my existence, then nor can you. He peeled every inch of my armoured lingerie from the welts of my skin as if I were only a banana eaten too quickly on the tube journey home. Sparking another cigarette alarmingly close to the gasoline grievances of yesterday’s laughter he sneered at me. Belittled and bereft I lay.

As the teasing moon arrived, the sum of the day deliquesced into the late hours. Gingerly I waited for sleep to cradle my bones and turgid marbles as though I hoped it were enough to suspend me for a lifetime. Whetted stars arose against the crushed black velvet of the sky once again irradiating the pillow on which my head was allotted. He pulled back the duvet, clean on today and scraped his sordid body next to mine forging an untoward companionship. It dawned on me then, that lonely was something I was not. Inescapably I'd been bound to my best friend this whole time. Whether as the voice in the sky, the fungus gnats on my bonsai or the collection of records I’ve had to justify, my sadness never left me and nor did I.

By Sophie Muir

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