Paul flicked his thumb and scrolled down the page without paying much attention to its contents. Somehow his brain continued to pressure him to look at this website, even though he didn’t care at all about who liked what and how wonderful everyone else’s lives were. He was Paul, this was his life damnit- all of this belonged to him. Why the hell was he letting the thoughts and opinions of other people he couldn’t see control it, commanding his actions? Isn’t that something like schizophrenia? Hell if he knew, he was just Paul. Just lazy little Paul.
The truth was, ever since he left high school, life had somehow gone away from him. It abandoned him such that recently he’d spent his nights managing the local Wal-Mart and his days either sleeping, or just that, scrolling down social media with unfocused eyes until a stirring somewhere below his lungs cause him to do something else, or worse he saw someone living a happier life than he was. Those people would get more likes, have more followers just for walking up a hill or wearing a dress. What was so special about them? Then again they did have more friends, and they had the money to travel and visit folks from around the- wait.
Wasn’t that his high school? Why was it bound up in caution tape? He clicked the video and muted the volume. That was his school alright. He’d spent years there pretending to care about school, and life, and people. He’d spent years getting good grades and playing around with- oh wait isn’t that River? He hadn’t seen her in a while. Was she living in that town still? What a loser, he’d left that dump heap the moment- Paul’s mouth dropped open. He watched as the building collapsed into rubble.
Just like that all those years he’d thought he didn’t care about, all those years he’d spent actually loving how easy life was- how wonderful his friends were, and worse all of those years spent missing that life, hoping to take back something he’d lost with time. All of that, crumbled into meaninglessness. Nothing but debris in a field for the bulldozers.
Paul put down his phone and sat back in his chair. He thought about everything. He thought about how in the end it would all be meaningless and gone, forgotten. This terrified Paul, it scared him so much that he, well he just didn’t do anything. He’d given up on every hope and every dream because deep down he knew that in the end everything would cease to exist. He was so afraid of nonexistence that he had simply chosen to become one among the many who existed the least.
He thought about how he’d surrounded himself with unimportant things and useless people. How he’d learned nothing since high school- he’d accomplished nothing no one else had. He stayed that perfect teenager, but aged considerably while accepting mediocrity as fate. How many years had he just sat around? Did he want to be like Steve? Or like his Father? Christ, he’d given up on everything.
Paul then grabbed his phone, got out of his chair, and called Wal-Mart for the last time.
Look, I’ve been thinking a lot about high school since I moved back into my hometown. It’s a surreal experience, catching up with people you once knew who once knew you. In my case, since I’ve changed my name and worked on changing my personality, it is an even stranger experience. These people really only knew me, I tell myself with an upturned nose- it feels like I’m meeting them again as someone else. Yes, I have snooty thoughts like that.
Yet, in many ways I’m very much like Paul. I cringe every time I open social media- and meeting new people scares the hell out of me. It’s nice to want to go back to your roots, right? To visit old friends and think about what good times you once had is a good thing.
Well, for the first fifteen minutes or so, then you start to write a story about it. Then you let it all out, even emotions you didn’t have- you know, when it becomes unhealthy. Either way I hope you can reflect on the good memories and accept that there’s nothing you can do about anything in the past. It’s taught you to become who you are now, so move on and love yourself. We’ll all end up in the same situation in the end anyway.
Here’s what I’m reading today. These are some good books- I suggest you check them out! Be sure to like/share this story if you enjoyed the read.