Behind Bars

JZL CK
2 min readOct 11, 2023

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You open your eyes at ten in the morning- the sun's already up, your loud neighbor is awake, the maid is already done with her chores judging by the looks of the corridor, the landlady's dog has had his breakfast from the dump- it's just ten in the morning and you already feel like a failure. It takes another hour or so to get used to the alien atmosphere again, and then you lift your sorry ass from your sheetless bed. You look at the blurry mirror and greet the one on the other end- disgust, hesitance, frustration, but most of all, worn-out pain. You brush your teeth not to break the routine, you swallow a piece of bread dipped in peanut butter for the same reason. You plug in your machine and the display turns white. In the small cube you reside in, the white light emits and forms a shadow of an old soul on the opposite wall. Your knuckles take over, and you run around the letters looking for words. The bright white paper on display, the monotonous clickety-clack of the keys, the stench of the half-eaten Chinese food from last night- you are in a prison of your own making.

When the clock strikes three, you have a cup of tea, and if possible, the rest of the Chinese food. You look up social media posts of people you once knew- or so you thought. You don't respond, you don't make sudden movements, you keep the knowledge of your existence to yourself- the one who knows all, the one who nobody knows about. You find comfort in that illusory invisibility. You search for sad movies and spend your evening tearing up for the protagonists. You eventually fall asleep with the headphone still on, and you eventually wake up drenched in your own sweat. You take a bath for the water is free, and then get back to work for you are not. The light reappears and the fingers start dancing to its tunes. After a while, the gut gurgles, and in goes another piece of bread. You have a dozen tabs open in your machine and another dozen in your head- constantly switching between them. When the eyes give up after much resistance, you snore and wait for the dog next door to wake you up at ten again.

At times, for a few seconds, you get detached from your routine, and you see yourself for what you truly are- but then you get pulled back into the 'reality' and lost again in the mundanity. You hope that these moments of 'truth' would disappear forever for it is the only time you realize you are behind bars. You'd certainly like to not be behind bars, but the next best thing is to not be made aware of your incarceration.

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