The Unseen Author.

We all live in books, our own that deviates from the truth. What follows is a chapter, and eventually - what happened.

Created: Jul 1, 2022


~6 min read

CW: Anxiety

13th October.

A day like any other, and yet something feels off.

In the kitchen, someone is going by their normal routine. Bowl of cereal to start with, followed by some eggs - no sausages. They tried that once and spent the rest of the day feeling heartburn, not to mention the fact that any energy they got from it was offset by the sluggishness of a too-full belly. Soon however, an odd sense of nausea set in.

Well, it wasn’t that odd - considering this wasn’t about to be any normal day. They have a meeting planned at work, something of a performance review. It’s their first, and firsts usually come with a bout of anxiety. The unknowns are too much, especially with something that sounds as important as a review. Their mind is already racing on what could go wrong, but this is nothing new. To them, this is nothing more than a weird rite of passage before they lock the experience to memory and wait for next time.

Time passes and with it, the anxiety grows. It’s only been minutes at work, but for them it may as well have been hours. Eyes drifting back and forth, from their watch to the screen. A biological beat, bouncing with a rhythm that’s backed by a quiet yet loud scream that’s supposed to be the melody. Everything sounds so loud that it’s nigh unbearable, but it’s just low enough that they can continue onward.

The watch ticks on, and as the time for the meeting nears the beat grows faster. Their heart in their throat, all sounds have amplified into something that - were it real - would burst eardrums. A mantra echoes within the chasms of the mind - “Only a few more minutes…”. It’s a funny thought, but it quiets the sounds down back to their - still loud - but bearable forms.

An urge to scream starts brewing deep inside, as pressure builds to the point that something feels like it’s about to break. The psyche growing ever more brittle as the growing force starts to bend its barriers. The mantra, now shouted, is doing its best but soon something else will need to take its place. As they hold strong, refusing to let everything out, the feeling gets internalized as a strong nausea - the metronome ticking so loudly that it causes waves within, the mind rocking back and forth within its cage as everything becomes more and more, the salty wind brushing against the nostrils and intensifying the sickness, a fever manifesting on the skin of a now red being, barely recognizable as human, seen more as a big red ball of pure fire begging to be let out, begging for the ball the burst, for any sort of expression to make it all easier, anything at all, something to-

A call. It’s time for the meeting. A high-ringing tone starts before fading into the background.

The meeting ends, but it doesn’t - not here. It’s scheduled time of 15:00 to 15:30 seems a joke as the watch stretches its hands to 18:00, the words still being spoken from the lips of specters. Echoes of sentiments, every flaw being pointed out, every word with venom poured into it before being fired into their heart, where it bleeds its poison into every other part, spreading the purple hatred into the stream of consciousness where it grows in intensity. The nausea returns, stronger than ever, the metronome on the brink of breaking, the waves rocking a boat that should have drowned and yet remains in this ocean, slamming against waves so fast they feel like concrete. The time is 23:00 and the meeting is still going. Words are going beyond their place, from work to personal life - laying waste to every aspect that remains. It is not enough that they poison the body, no, they must poison the house in which it lays. Every memory, every acquaintence, every comrade, all inside this twisted house laughing at a creature that grips its head with iron fingers. The laughter does not escape the house, it remains inside, echoing and reverberating within the concrete walls, bouncing to and fro, bashing into their target who still, even now, refuses to scream. Everything is so loud, the footsteps pacing back and forth as they try to wait for the noise to end. It always ends, it always ends, they repeat to themselves. They’ve been here before, they will be fine - the words drown into a soup of self-hatred and deficiencies. The world, out to get them, laughs. Soon every friend they have is no one but a stranger, tolerating their existence out of sheer pity, deeply hoping that they finally leave them alone. Every achievement turns into a degeneracy, an act of no worth that serves to prove nothing than the sheer inadequacy of their being. Every past smile into a figment, a fiction made to be nothing more than a dream of an impossible future.

And yet, they lay in bed, ready to close their eyes. You’d think this was odd, and yet - like I said. To them, this is nothing more than a rite of passage.

And as the blood red waves keep trying to blow holes into the patchworked ship, they sleep - awaiting the next day.

13th October.

A day like any other. Ignoring the review, work was normal. They talked with both coworkers and friends, occasionally flashing a smile. When the meeting started, the 2 reviewers pointed out flaws and ways in which to improve, noticing that there were some troubles after pivoting to a new project - leading to a 3% salary increase that was lower than usual but still commendable. After work, they went home to a messy kitchen that should’ve been cleaned yesterday. The plan was to clean it today but they were too physically tired from all that happened. After hours watching their favourite series, occasionally staring at an empty message box that would normally host their words, they closed their eyes and laid on the pillow.

Both of these counts are true, but one is more objective than the other. The former is the truth written from a mind as it interprets everything happening, and the latter is the truth written from an objective view. We all have our authors and interpreters, and none of us experience things objectively. It’s what makes each of us unique.

But sometimes the two paths diverge. And as time goes on, the divergence grows wider. Interpretations compound on each other to form a world that may very well look wildly different from what is objective. And when this happens, sometimes you need to realize where you’re headed. We’re fallible, and recognizing when we’ve made a wrong turn in our interpretation can help, but it can also be hard.

So, now. I’m going to ask you something, and I want you to take your time answering it. It doesn’t have to be now, and you don’t need to answer it just once. If things seem confusing, or overwhelming, keep this in mind.

“Who’s writing your story?”