The 2:56 gleaming from my alarming clock seemed to be looking straight at me.
Another night spent the same way, with meaningless words written on a notebook nobody would bother reading until I showed them, and even then they would close the little red book whilst engaging someone else in conversation, and hold it back to me. I’d wait for a few minutes, hoping they would turn to me and ask for the notebook to read what I wrote, only then they’d spend a few seconds squinting at those closely knit, black scribbles, shake their head and say,
“For an excellent writer you have such terrible handwriting,” and then we’d joke about it being an oxymoron, but how’d they know I was an excellent writer without having read those scribbles that I put all of my energy in, that has now been rendered meaningless by my own words?
I won’t be a teenager for too long, only a year or was it two? Should I be thinking so much about being twenty, when I’m unsure if I’ll even make it to my eighteenth birthday? It’s a month and a few days away, and I know despite what I say here, time will pass as swift as a shadow, as short as any dream. Shakespeare was right all along, and what have I become that I’m agreeing with him of all people? I chuckle humorlessly and blame it on the clock which now screams 3:04 AM. I don’t agree with the clock, but I agree with the poet, who would’ve been kicked out from the city of a great philosopher I can never compete with because instead of thinking, I’m trying so hard not to think. I don’t know if I want to be eighteen, it seems rather big in my existence of monumental disappointments.
What am I to do when I’m finally there? Try for a driving license, when I’m hoping I’ll die in a metal cage, but my friends are next to me on those leather seats, dancing to the music that makes my ears bleed, so I control my urges; today is not the day to total your car, only the amount of money you spent on ice cream, and not because it was expensive, but because hidden deep behind your desire to vanish, you want to visit that ice cream parlor again. There are so few of them, he said, and no one really understands the simple pleasure in spending on that cold dessert with friends making conversation as the white noise of the day, knowing for that moment, it was all good.
So I keep driving on, and then what? I may not know how long I have to drive, the examiner had said as she unwrapped an orange flavored lollipop, but I should remember to drive straight. We idled by half the city until she finished her garish treat, and I finally had the courage to ask her if I passed the test, to which she burst out in a fit of hysterical laughter.
“You passed the minute you opened the door for me,” she guffawed, “And I just needed some company.”
So, I went home clutching my permit, and I felt nothing. There was no excitement at the government recognizing my driving skills as passable on their dangerous roads, no sense of independence overtook my soul. I could’ve romanticized my meeting with the examiner, a story wherein she chokes on her lollipop, or laughs to death in my car, and it wouldn’t have been difficult as old as she was. Maybe as I dropped her back to the testing Centre, she would get in her own car and be killed by a head-on collision. They say she died on the spot, but the real question was, why was I obsessed with the death of this old lady? Was it because eighteen seemed too young to be cut from the conscious, or because the days were passing so fast, my emotions couldn’t keep up?
I had been seventeen so long, that when eighteen hit it felt no different for the first five hours, and then it hit, with the force of a thousand and fifty-seven shrieking fruit bats, that it might be like this for the rest of my life. I might feel like this every birthday until I was as old as that lady, whom time had hoodwinked as cleverly as it would be, and someone else would fantasize about my death.