I've got to say, the task I've set myself up for is ridiculously daunting. It's a lot of work, every day, for quite a while. I should be able to handle it, though.

I mean, dropping out of school can't be so bad, can it?

Some clarifications: I say "drop out", I mean "withdraw". For those of you in the audience who don't know the latter's definition, it's a fancy term for dropping all your classes a given quarter, usually due to health or other unforeseen reasons. The problem here is that the reasons I have are actually quite foreseen; many years foreseen in fact. But that doesn't make them easier to deal with.

Unfortunately, I don't trust psychologists, or else this whole sequence may not have been necessary. Maybe I would have dealt with this in spring? Maybe the spring before? Or the spring before that? Spring is a time of new beginnings, yes, but the heat of summer has always burned them away. Perhaps exploring my madness as Persephone descends to sit beside Hades is the way to go. That appointment is this Thursday, and I am both excited and terrified. Will I finally solve this problem? Hopefully. Hopefully.

Despite never having had any, I have a huge desire to go on medication. I feel very strongly that this is more than just an attitude problem; that I have some chemicals all jumbled up in my brainpan. Funny, this being the end diagnosis of a fellow who actively never took chemistry. Mind, by diagnosis, I mean process of elimination. Fate deals strange hands sometimes.

I've been like this for years and years. It's exacerbated by stress, yes, but the malaise, the ennui has always been there. I lie in bed, staring at my clock as my classes tick by, willing myself with all my effort to just sit up and go. It doesn't happen, I end up getting out of bed at 3PM, feeling awful both from tiredness (as there was no sleep to greet me in my lack of will, only a long, aching wakefulness) and from what has just occurred. I drag myself to work, direct money for minimal effort being a sufficient drive, or at least sufficient lack of friction to go. I sit there for 4, 6, 8 hours some days in a lie. Lying to my coworkers that I'm fine, putting on a face. I go home, stay up longer as I cannot sleep even if I try, and the cycle begins anew.

Needless to say I'm sick of that. However, it's the sort of problem that exacerbates itself: I have trouble even getting motivated enough to talk to my adviser, or financial aid, or even my parents about it. The first two have not been informed, the latter only just this past Saturday. I've been plotting, or more accurately trying to muster the resolve for this since the end of September. Only now am I taking action.

I hope it to be enough.

512 words : 182500 a year

Dear Heather,

I haven't felt the urge to write anything like this for quite a long time now. I'd guess probably a few years. Maybe I haven't been inspired. Maybe it takes the right person to inspire me. Well, I know for sure that you're the right person - I love you with all my heart and just wish to hell that this God awful situation we're in wasn't happening. Three children between us and no home for them, let alone ourselves. I feel so ashamed and helpless over the whole thing but I admire the strength and courage you've shown, even before you met me, years before. Lord only knows how you coped back then, but you did and I'm glad you did. That's why I love you so. I still don’t know how you cope with this, day in, day out. You must certainly have more strength inside you than me.

I sat back today and started to muse on my thoughts of the past year. I watched the cat, Pingu, sleeping in the corner of the dining room on top of my bag. He looked calm and peaceful there. He was in a tranquil place for sure. It’s hard to believe that he’s going on ten years old now. I remember holding him as a kitten; he would fit entirely on the palm of my hand. Anyway, I digress... What I really started thinking about was how fast this year and a bit has seemed to have gone, since meeting you for the first time. I remember the first time I saw you. I thought to myself that you could be it, THE person. I could see a future with you right from the start. You don't know how good it feels to be right about that! I wonder, has it all passed you by in a blur too?

I often feel my head pounding when I start to think about everything that we’ve been through – the court case with him, harassment (and those constant trips to the police station), the council, caring for the children, preparing for the arrival of Liam, seeking a place to live, my job and so much more, let alone actually trying to have a relationship for ourselves! Doesn’t that say something to you? It does to me...

I don’t want this to be one of those piles of drivel about how much I need you, how much I love you, how much I can't live without you and so on... You’ve had too much of that before us anyway. And I know that you know how I feel. We only have to look each other in the eyes to realise you know, and to realise that you have a love inside you that runs deep for me too. I feel it every time we touch. Every time you call my name. I am still amazed that you can bring yourself to feel love after everything that’s happened to you. Most people I know would be in one hell of a mess after suffering even a moment of that. Your strength of character amazes me. It always will. I just hope that I can be the partner, no, the husband, that you deserve. I think I have a lot to live up to. My heart aches when I hold you. I can feel the pain inside you, I can sense it. It makes a tear hang inside my soul. I want to take that pain away. I’d do anything to take the pain away – the one thing I know I can’t do for you. You’re the one who's got to do that and all I can do is be there with you when you do. I promise I will be there.

I’m excited. Are you? I’m excited about us, in case you’re wondering. I’m excited about our relationship and how much stronger it gets every time we touch, kiss, embrace or make love. Do you feel it too? I’m excited about how it doesn’t seem that we can’t stop getting better and better together. I never thought it was possible. Finding love is one of those things we’re not supposed to do, only people in the films and books do that. Well, that’s what I thought anyway, and I have been proven wrong. I love you and I love your children and our son. It’s as simple as that. I want to see those kids grow up into great people. I know they will. I know you’re the best mother in the world to them, I only had to spend a little time with them to realise that. They are truly fantastic and I love them dearly. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. Do you ever wonder what we’ll be doing in ten years from now? The children will be growing up fast... nearly adults. Doesn’t that amaze you? I know it amazes me. Without sounding corny, I have to say that we’ve only just begun. There’s so much behind us, but still far to go. Who knows what awaits us? All I know for certain is that we’ll be there together when we find out. Let's see what's out there!

All my love,

Neil.

you're gonna feel this if i have to rupture it down your pretty little throat.
you're gonna hear this, if i have to scream out every note
this heart's become a fucking cage
my sisters stomping full of rage
where is the pure yet tiny sage
who used to spill worlds on the page?

if you would kill the thing that sleeps
if you would climb down to the deeps
there is a toll that must be paid
between the silver leafy blades

the reservoirs are drying up
and winter's coming fast.

there was a time when i believed
i never could be so deceived

but now the jewel has cracked and bleeds
and faithless ai is wondering
if maybe this could last.

i'm tangled up in your red threads
too many connections in my head
and the left hand's blundering
has stripped me of my center
and when i wake the moon tonight
take care the king comes not within her sight
he will recoil- not from fright
but will see a different creature there.

my lady sits and combs her hair
naked to be free of stares
the eyes of the beholder change
as soon as they come within range
a different angel surfaces

messengers do this by instinct
the flesh reflects the thoughts they think
and greater gods will dare to link
this nature with falsehood
a different girl in different places

but they have never stood upon
the edge of something looking down
on only human faces
they have never thought to drown
in spidersilk and glimmer
they think a fool's a kind of clown
their hearts have never shimmered
upon the birth of some new dream
feeling watchers like a gleam
on the other side of doorways

and how could just you be enough
to make me think to discard tough
and perchance believe in always?

if one day you and i should touch
i won't let it matter much
the waiting and the longing rust
i'll numb me out like always.

i'll make you not matter.
even if it kills me.

Viral fever.

It comes on slowly but suddenly, if that makes any sense. It doesn't feel like anything about the experience makes any sense. Around lunchtime I get a splitting headache, and then my stomach starts giving me trouble in the car on the way back to the in-laws' flat, but I figure it's not so bad, don't want to turn down our dinner invitation.

So then I'm sitting down to supper at the well-appointed flat of diotina's jethima, enjoying delicious food and hearing about what's involved in making it, when abruptly I realise that I have to leave the table. I think I'm probably going to throw up or something, maybe I'll have diarrhoea, but it turns out that's not it at all. I go to the toilet and I just need to cry and cry. Diotina arrives soon after and tries to comfort me, but there's no stopping the weeping.

It's a strange feeling, crying for no obvious reason, and it's one of those things where your brain fills in the gaps involuntarily - oh no! Crying! This must be because the marriage is breaking down, because you're not succeeding the way you hoped with the PhD, all these possible reasons retrofitted to explain this sobbing collapse, and really it's all physiological but maybe in a way it feels good to take this opportunity to cry about all these things regardless. So I'm led to a bed in a spare room, and I lie there in the dark sobbing my guts out and blowing my nose for a long time.

Later the monsoon rains come back, there is flooding in the streets and I feel terrible, so guilty! I wanted to see a monsoon and now here it is and people are dying, their livelihoods are getting washed away into the Hooghly and this is what I asked for, it's really my fault. I laugh at myself for thinking such things, but the feeling of guilt doesn't entirely dissipate. Neither does the sickness. I am bedridden and borderline delirious for days after this.

Kolkata Metro-

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