Guest post by Hursh Joshi.
Let me explain my day.
I wake up. For a moment I think I am in my parents’ home. I look around and everything seems easy. I turn around and I doze.
Just a little while later, I wake up again. A little confused. I was sure I was at home, my parents’ home that is. But something is different. The walls, I recognise them. So I must be at home. But they are not the walls from my parents’ home. Gradually I wake up; I look around and everything seems familiar but different.
It dawns on me. I am at home, just my home not my parent’s home. I wonder what that was about. I think about how it felt to be at my parents’ home. Somehow safe. An unadulterated feeling of invulnerability. I remember I used to sleep in those days, 9,10, 11 hours. Now I am lucky to get five hours. Today it is four hours and, though I have nothing to do, I will be lucky to get back to sleep again.
I turn on the radio. The Today programme. They are talking about the escalation of events in Gaza. They continuously refer to the Palestinian fighters as ‘militants’ and the Israeli fighters as ‘forces’. The coverage is asymmetric. Don’t get me wrong, inasmuch as I have thought about it, I think they should just plop for a one-state solution now – Israelis and Palestinians living as equals side by side. They should force themselves to do it, to rid themselves of the hatred. To escape their destinies. These are the fleeting thoughts that go through my head.
I start crying. How will I escape my destiny. I am locked in 22 hours a day. Apart from a woman from Reprieve and my state vetted lawyer no one ever visits me. She comes once a week, sometimes every other week. He comes whenever. She is nice and well meaning, but white and middle class. She talks about things I can no longer connect with. Fights for justice, the prices of things, the difference between politicians. He is in the dark. He knows a little more than me – like what I have been charged with – but he cannot tell me. Mostly though everything is kept secret from him too.
I stop crying. Lie there in a foetus position for an hour. Then I force myself up. I look around. Everything is the same. The walls are still painted an off-shade of white. The shade on the ceiling light is still one of those white paper spheres – you know the ones, made up of concentric circles of thin metal acting as a frame for thin white tracing paper. There is still a bureau, old and not beautiful. The bureau desk is down – a computer screen and a keyboard rest on it. The computer, without a cover, is on the floor by the side of the bureau. One of the drawers on the bureau is half open – my colourful boxer shorts lie in a clean crumpled heap inside. I am sitting up on the bed, a double divan with a brown flowered pattern on the side. And there is a fading green door to the rest of the house.
I feel an overwhelming sense of helplessness. Desperation and despair. I know I have to get up otherwise I will sink. I slowly force my legs over the side of the bed. I sit in that position. Not thinking. Not seeing. Not crying. I push myself up slightly, my arse leaves the bed. It hangs in the air about two inches above the bed, I am supported by my arms. After five or ten seconds my butt cheeks hit the bed again. I support my head in my arms now. Then I force myself to stand.
The door moves towards me. I am striding. Bold elegant strokes. My movement is dance and I am energy. I stop in front of the door, hesitate, but there is nowhere to slump. With a flourish I swing the door open. I walk towards the bathroom. I pee and I shit. The bathroom is immaculate. Everything in the house is clean. Stuck in the house with no visitors. No one else to blame for the mess, too many hours to make excuses.
The sense of relief is palpable. I feel lighter, freer, more adventurous. I wash my hands, get undressed and almost jump into the shower. I have forgotten my towel. I walk back for it, this time noticing the corridor. The brown carpet gets to me, but I have no money for big things. The carpet is fine, I just hate the colour. I knew, when I got it back before these days, that one day I would hate it.
I walk back to the door, it is still open, and through it to the bedroom. I sit naked on the bed, overwhelmed by my prison. For five minutes I can’t move. I shut down. There are no thoughts in my head. Then I begin to play with myself, but I can’t excite myself. Half limp, I give up. I force myself to get up and walk back to the bathroom.
I turn on the water. And stand under the shower in the bathtub. I begin to soap myself. I remember the towel. I’d forgotten it again. Now I remember, I must go straight away and stay focused. Naked, half-soaped, I walk dripping through the corridor and back to the bedroom. I get the towel, which is hanging on the back of the door and I walk back to the bathroom.
I get back under the still running water. Wash off the soap that there is and start soaping again. I almost feel enough of an urge to try and play with myself again, but not quite. I turn off the water and dry myself with my towel still stood in the bathtub. Then I sit on the edge of the bath and floss. I brush my teeth. I put tea tree oil on my toenails, some of which are fungus infected. Then I walk back to my room, hang the towel up and sit on the bed. Still without clothes. I stare out of the window, hope that someone will see me. I used to be wary of my own nakedness, now I just hope that I am noticed, not ignored, by those out there in the real world.
I stretch. I do some press ups. I stand, a little sweaty. I pick up the towel from the stand and wipe myself with it. I put it back. I sit again, on the bed. I think. Which outfit? It doesn’t really matter, but these little things keep you sane – or as close as can be expected. I decide on the light blue t-shirt and the blue cargo trousers.
I put on some boxers and I take the clothes downstairs with me. I iron them – more carefully and slowly than I ever would have done before. I have time now, and I realise what it requires to keep your mind. You need to feel like you have a say in your own destiny, and I can only control my appearance. For now, that will do.
I make some porridge – half water, half soya milk. With dates and almonds and blueberries. I eat it and I wash the dishes. I dry the dishes and I put them away. I go from the kitchen to the garden.
I sit in the cold sunlight. I look around me. There’s grass and bushes and trees and a vegetable patch. My vegetable patch. I never liked gardening, but now it is something to do. Something to take care of. Something to prove I am still human. I walk up to my vegetable patch and do some weeding. I go back in and come out with a watering can and give the plants some water. There are courgettes and potatoes and tomatoes, there is mint and basil and thyme and lots of others – I have to use my thyme, I think to myself and I laugh.
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Above is blog post no. 2 in the small blogging experiment here on jonathanwichmann.com feat. content written/created by Hursh Joshi. The experiment is about testing what kind of content drives what kind of interest and traffic. The result of the experiment will be shared afterwards. The topic, it seems, revolves around boredom. And there’s a rule too: Hursh is not allowed to write two blog posts of similar style.