The following piece was awarded Second Prize in the OU Students Association Wellbeing Writing Competition for Freshers Fortnight 2021. The author, Jane, resides in Belgium and is studying Educational leadership: exploring strategy (EE812).
Empty. Tick. Lonely. Tock.
Nothing absolutely nothing, is what I feel.
Time seems to rush, slip and stream by me,
Like a turbid river on a rainy day.
I lay in bed, my mattress almost permanently moulded into the figure of my body.
The air in my room stale from the recycled breaths I take.
Completely, utterly bored.
My mind seems to waste second by second, replaying the flow of words.
I stare at the screen of my phone,
Looking but not seeing,
Liking, following, watching,
But not caring.
Time seems to slow as I lay there continuously swiping,
The drone of some show playing on and on.
I change my position on my bed, sitting up and facing the window.
Light streams in through the slit of my curtain,
And hits my face.
Almost as if piercing the darkness in my room.
I can see the dust particles float around me,
I smile skims my lips; it’s been a while.
I want to smile, laugh, cry
But I feel like I have forgotten how.
I scan my room thinking of what I can do
To break free of the endless loop I seem to be stuck in.
Tock, watch a movie
Tick, go for a walk
The thought of it makes my stomach summersault.
The thought of flipping the pages of a new book
The smell of freshly pressed paper and ink.
The way the pages stick together stiffly,
As if waiting for someone to discover its secrets.
The thought of it clears my mind.
My emotions seem to want to burst,
Expanding, stretching, wanting to escape my mind,
Like a balloon about to pop, the rubber stretched thin.
And I know I have to read.
I pick up the book on my desk,
Abandoned days ago.
The constant rush of adjectives and nouns made my mind ache
And my eyes throb.
But now all I want to do is finish the book.
To feel that almost euphoric sensation of turning the last page
And seeing the words: Acknowledgments.
Or the empty feeling that sticks to you, almost clings to you
As you know you’ll never read the thoughts of your favourite characters again.
I open the page to where I left off,
And start to read.
I almost forget that time continues moving.
I turn the last page of my book
My eyes ache and my eye lashes are heavy from the tears that run down my face.
Sobs rack my body as I close the book.
I stand, placing my hands high in the air, as if to reach the ceiling,
And let out a sigh as I stretch.
A smile spreads on my face and I giggle.
It’s dark outside.
It had been hours.
I had barely heard a tick or tock.
Reading has always been an escape for me.
A way to cross over into another dimension and forget my own problems.
Hanging on to every word the author writes.
Allowing me to be someone else for those few moments in time.
A mortal girl turned fae,
A young child falling down a long and dark hole,
A boy finding out about his family’s history,
A girl stuck in a cold train not knowing where it’s taking her.
I lay back down on my bed,
Already thinking about what to read next.
Reading brings a bit of sanity to days like this
Almost like light piercing a dark room
I don’t mind the clock now.