I must have accidentally triggered the alarm of this world. The wailing siren fills the air. It muddles with the noises from the cars, the streets, the restaurants, and the elevators producing a seemingly high-frequency sound. I feel envious of the stranger reading next to me. There is an image of the blue sky in her book. She doesn’t seem to be able to hear that sound.
I would wake up with a start with that high-frequency continuing to wail in my brain. My body would be soaking in sweat.
I can hardly get out of bed in the morning. When I do, I walk over to the mirror, and have a quick brush up. I try my best to avoid looking at my face; I stare at my hair when I comb and I stare at my beard when I shave. To get the work done section by section I’m sure to avoid looking at my entire face and eyes. Sometimes I accidentally catch a glimpse of my swollen and heavy eyes, shocking even to me.
People are kind enough to offer me tea bags and loose tea so I can take a sip to refresh myself at work. But the fact is they are always expired or go stale when I eventually decide to make a brew. It’s not that I’m so busy every day that I can’t even spare fifteen minutes to make a cup of tea. It’s just that meetings and work never seem to end. Even during the rare times, like today, that I managed to complete my work, when I finally got to sit down by my desk for a bit, my body stopped responding; just like an overheated engine that has been running for too long, it takes time to cool down. I just sat still. That was all I could do. No matter how delicious the tea is, it is tasteless to me anyway.
I wasn’t aware of how much time had passed when I finally recovered from exhaustion. I was alone in the office. I walked to the bathroom, took off my glasses, turned on the faucet, evenly spread the cleanser in my palm, and then started to wash my face. I dried myself with a towel, and gently massaged my cheeks, nose wings, eyelids, and chin. The towel is so soft and so comfortable. The softness reminded me that I need to relax myself before I can untangle my problems. “I can relax in this non-existent space.”
I found that someone has quietly turned off the alarm for me temporarily. I looked up to take a look at my face.