Bojack Horseman.

I have a friend who has been hosting monthly writing workshops and I want to share what I wrote today. I’ve shared the past ones here as well (On perception. & “Do not drink your chocolate with your fingers”) but today felt a little different. I’m typically inspired by the prompts and the writing comes easily but today I struggled. I didn’t actually want to write anything. The prompt was a series of quotes from the Netflix series “Bojack Horseman” that I wish I could remember. One was something like “If you’re wearing rose colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags” and another was something like “How can I be responsible for my own happiness? I can’t even be responsible for my own breakfast.” …real existential shit. In any case, as much as I wanted to be inspired to write, the prompts inspired me to think about the pain I’m experiencing right now: unemployed, lonely, struggling financially, in a major depressive episode, trying to finish my education, struggling with self worth and suicidal ideation, etc. etc. etc. I stared at the screen and nothing happened. I started to type some things but nothing was making sense and then I decided to just type what I was feeling. I ran out of time before I could really get going but I think this is a good start:

Fire. He has to set something on fire. He sits cross-legged on the hard wood floor and turns this thought over and over in his head. Fire. Fire. Fire. Something has to burn. He has to light something up and watch it burn. Burn. Burn. Burn. Fire. The thoughts get hotter and brighter the more he thinks, each thought like kindling, the fire burning itself and consuming. Hot. Bright. Fire.

He unfolds his legs and gets to his feet. He walks to the door. He opens the door. Or, he thinks about opening the door. He doesn’t open the door. He grabs the cool brass knob with his left hand. He grips the knob tight. He can’t turn it. It doesn’t turn. It won’t turn. The fire in his head is blazing. He has to set something on fire. The thoughts are hot. It hurts. It burns. In one quick motion, he butts his head forward and his forehead smacks against the wood of the door. He rests there for a second and feels the relief. The fire is blazing still but he sees some of the flames start to flicker and the smoke gets thicker. He bangs his head against the door again. The smoke is getting thicker and it’s so dark he almost doesn’t see the fire anymore so he does it again. Bang. And again. Bang. Skin against wood. Bang. Fire. Bang. Light something up. Bang. Bang. Bang. He hits his head against the door until the feeling is like the chemical foam blasting out of a fire extinguisher. Bang. Bang. Bang. Until there’s nothing left but cinder and ash. Cool. Cooling. Steady.

He is small. He is a tiny speck of dust in an unfathomable universe, a meaningless blip in eternity. He sees how little he matters. And yet there is no other option than to continue to exist. He pulls on his backpack and trudges past his sleeping mother. He skips the kiss on her forehead this morning. He does not say goodbye. He pulls open the front door and lets himself out into the morning. The day is bright though the sun seems not to have entirely risen yet. The season is spring and the cacophony of birdsong is so loud he can’t think. He has to push his palms against his ears until the overwhelming roar of morning is dampened enough for him to remember where he is going. School. Like every other morning of first grade. He wakes up. He puts on his clothes. He goes to the kitchen and fixes himself a bowl of bran flakes. He kisses his mother goodbye. He takes a left out of his house and another left at the end of the street. He walks one block to the intersection. The crossing guard wears a bright yellow vest in the autumn and in the spring but she wears a bright yellow jacket in the winter. He likes her jacket better than the vest. She helps him diagonally across the busy intersection. He walks all the way down the street. He goes to school. This is the routine. He does it every day but today he has to make himself remember.

He still wants to set something on fire. The thought is like a burning ember still soldiering on from the fire he fought earlier, emanating heat from its survival in the back of his mind but not enough heat that he can’t ignore it.

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