I have this incredible talent for choosing appropriate times to screw up, often right before I go on holiday. I leave Pretoria the day after I make the mistake and come back 3 weeks later hoping that I won’t be reminded of my previous miscalculation. It never works. As I trudge down the boulevards, hands clenched in pockets, dorky backpack slung over my back, I am forced to recall every single dumb thing I’ve done leading up to this moment. I’ll take my keys out, unlock the front gate, step over the line between oblivion and recognition and then stew in my own stupidity for a good several moments. I’ll pause a bit in front of a certain patch of wall, feeling the blank space mock me for thinking I could disappear for a while and come back a completely different person. My room will smell like disappointment and look exactly how I left it: in a slight state of disarray, mirroring my tumultuous mind.
This time there is a collection of lost objects shivering on my doorstep. Tokens of an unfortunately unforgettable party that have found their way back to me. Carried by the ebb and flow of people dropping things at my door; lonely socks and house keys, items I forgot in my haste to run away.
I close my door against the cold and slide down it, back pressed against reality. Maybe if I draw my curtains, lock myself away and pretend I don’t exist for a bit then people will actually start believing it. No, that’s stupid. If life was that easy to ignore we’d all be doing it.
I think I’ll simply have to get off the bedroom floor, my companion through lonely nights and deep conversations. I’ll have to stand up, stretch, promise myself autonomy from my mistakes and then pretend I’m not a substitute person until people actually start believing it.
After all, I’m just a lost kid, in a slouchy beanie, trying to figure out how the fuck I’m supposed to behave.