soulfaraway Fabiana Souza

Have you ever lost everything? Hank Preston was a famous writer whose debut book, "Stygian Blues", was a bestseller. His subsequent publications, however, were all low ranked. After a year facing total writer's block, his editor is picking on him with deadlines, his wife is leaving home, and he's under the risk of losing his property. Hank is drowning in the deep end. Will he be able to climb again? Maybe it's time to take some desperate measures... with an odd psychologist.

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#romance #love #creativity #writer #marriage #crisis #psychology #virtualreality #speculativefiction #artificialintelligence #creativeblock #creativeprocess
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Head Emptiness

"The greatest hazard of all, losing one's self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss — an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. — is sure to be noticed."

S. Kierkegaard

Alcohol and cigarettes.

They're my obsessions now I'm old, and it's hard to change things after I get to this point, 'cause these addictions reside in my bones.

I know I should smoke less. I even prefer the dizzy effects of sporadic smoking than the insensibility of frequent smoking, but I no longer have any control over such a habit. I light one cigarette at the end of the other, smoking them to the stump, without even realizing it. Isn't it ironic? I smoke without consciously feeling that I'm doing so, but if I don't smoke, I can't tolerate the absence.

I should also drink less. It started to cause me a lot of problems and amnesia. I don't know what I'm waiting for, but I've realized I'm numb and living in standby-mode.

Trying to remember my past few days, I see that I can't. I don't know what day of the week it is, and I'm astonished I still remember my name. Nothing sticks anymore. I don't really see the places I'm going. Sometimes, I catch myself in the middle of the traffic, engulfed in ear-splitting honking horns from angry drivers, completely unaware of how I have gotten there.

I'm a ghost. I'm a shadow. I'm empty.

From the balcony railing, I look down at the avenue, so tiny under my fifteenth-floor perspective. There's the chaos of the world below, the ever-present movement of activity. Everybody keeps going, satisfied with themselves. How can I get a little bit of this will, this energy, this courage?

Turning to glare at my opaque face, in the semi-reflection drawn on the smokey glass of the door, I glimpse that classic moment when we look at ourselves and ask: What have I done to my life? What has life done to me? At which point in the past did I sell my soul to Don't-Know-Who and became so automaton and insignificant?

I throw the cigarette in the ashtray and I cross the balcony door again, entering the bedroom. Ugh, how difficult it is to live with this emptiness in my head!

Luna wakes up and stretches herself with pleasure, rolling one leg out of the sheets. She opens her amber eyes and gazes at me. I could give in to the beaten expression "honey color" but her eyes are not the same color as honey. They're almost yellow. They're feline, mysterious, and superficial.

I never understood why mystery is always associated with depth. In the depths, there's no mystery. There's something else that may drive a man insane if uncovered. For me, the mystery has always inhabited the surface, they're visible to the naked eye. De Profundis, my ass!

"What's up, babe?"

Her sleep-filled voice, with the hoarseness characteristic of mornings, seems to spread across the entire room, three-dimensional. I don't answer. I don't know what's going on, not do I feel like saying something. I just sit next to her on the bed.

She lights a cigarette. In a minute, I realize I'm smoking again. The two vapors meet and intertwine, dancing in the silence. Did we use to dance? I feel like wanting to touch her, but I don't do that, and I don't know why. I only leave myself there, standing still and silent, letting the cigarette consume me.

April 17, 2021, 8:27 p.m. 2 Report Embed Follow story
Read next chapter We All Have to Deal with Deadlines

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