The following short story is a work of fiction unknowingly inspired by an item written by one of my readers. It won’t be part of my coming book, however it’s been a long time since I posted a short story on my blog, so I figured I might as well do it.
It’s a very draining thing, really, whether I want to admit it to myself or not. The siphon is slow at first, nearly imperceptible to the naked eye. In time though, it pulls away at every part of your well-being. Your soul, your energy, your ambition, and your happiness are all ready to be harvested, though you’ll likely not be the one to reap the fruits of your labor.
I’m aware of the dripping now. I can hear it on occasion throughout the day. Sometimes, it’s a steady, slow drip that would go unnoticed had I not been looking for it. It will crescendo to a loud rushing of liquid, emotions flowing away in their raw and visceral state with little regard for how or why. I am rarely the catalyst or stimulus for this action, and yet I hear and feel not just the catastrophic draining anymore. I feel it all.
I was once happy, joyful, jubilant, ecstatic, and any other synonym you can think of to mirror those emotions. I could make people laugh with little or no effort. I could encourage, inspire, and enlighten. For a while I found it fun. I found it uplifting to see the benefits that my efforts provided to others. I still have moments like that now — those rare, gratifying moments that are ever so fleeting — and when they appear, they’re an otherworldly experience to behold.
More commonly, I find myself feeling used. I feel as though I’m an irreplaceable, load-bearing cog in a machine where both the cog and the machine are stressed to their respective breaking points. Instead of providing trussing or support to alleviate the pressure, the pressure only cranks up as the quicksand gets deeper. Couple that with other factors (including the slow and steady drip of time) and the aforementioned joyful soul becomes a cynical, sardonic being with little care beyond numbers.
2,080. 7.25. 11,770. 80,000. If you know what those are without looking them up, congratulations. You’re just as bored as me.
It’s not the boredom that keeps me from what makes me happy. Quite the contrary used to be the case. During those moments of boredom, I would often find myself allowing my creative muse to flow. The words I churned out were met by the eyes of those who cared about what I had to say, critiqued my work fairly, and were willing to share in their creativity with me.
I don’t have the energy for that anymore. My downtime is filled with as much mindless activity as I can handle in an effort to clear my mind. It doesn’t work. I’ve known that for sometime. The creative outlet helped me to be free and happy, calm and restful. It’s been years since I felt that way. Plural. Bring me one voice who shouts their support of my endeavors from the highest of mountaintops. Bring me the person who does so without fear or trepidation that I might fail. They’re the inspiration, they’re the muse, they’re the one who turns that constant drip into a fountain that replenishes the fluids of my mind.
The drip’s too strong now. I can hear it when I sleep.