Locked Down

From over 600 entries accross the world, I was delighted to be chosen as a finalist in the Telegraph’s Teenage Creative Writing Competition. Enjoy!

We each sit in our squares. You in yours. Me in mine.

 “I know,” Google says, “this can be isolating at times.” As it confidently chimes from its rectangle of illumination, I stare behind at my closed blinds and think, “at times? What times?” All I see is this box of endless light- day and night. All I do is flick through grids of LED blue. I miss seeing the moon caress the morning’s sunbeams on its slow return home, wrapping its arms over her waist.

I miss the embrace of someone who understands, connection and a helping hand. But it’s just me. My own arms, my own waist, my own body staring blankly at these four walls. We know each other, intimately, as the moon knows the sun. Talking makes me tired, so we agreed, in this relationship, none of that is required. Their paper thin skin projects my thoughts like a slow moving animation picture. A simple square of containment and failing entertainment. Yes, we are more intimate than night and day. We are mirrors. Both pale from the absence of sun, which rises only to retreat. All we do is watch this pitiful cycle looped on repeat.

My feed reminds me again, “exercise brings endorphins”. I’ll do it tomorrow. And if tomorrow becomes today I’ll continue as if it were yesterday. I can’t help throwing time away, none of us can. 

The only change are these constant updates. The softened night mode from the dimmed brightness of day. These shifting squares that slide me further into a cotton cocoon of sheets- it doesn’t exactly keep me on my feet. For some ‘self-care’ I add potted plants and Himalayan salt lamps. Then I wilt back into the dryness of this cell inside. But I’ll be fine. Instagram’s story of today tells me ‘it’s normal to feel this way’. To feel like everything is proceeding in reverse.

Somehow, the birds start their day. For such tiny creatures, they put me to shame. I’ll start the morning scrolling into my social smoothie. My daily dose of Twitter checks let me know it’s Rihanna’s birthday and Venezuelans can’t afford birth control. Scrolling. Losing control. I’m trying, really, I am, to refresh the page and start over. 

I try to bury the chimes and chirps in my self-dug hole of darkness, following the sound of what life used to feel like. It takes seconds for me to decide. To tell myself: I will not drown in these duvet covers. I will walk in these streets where nature floats free. 

I used to try to turn back time, but it still ripples on, swirling in semi-circles, not squares, melting the stagnant lake in my mind. I used to try grasping at any source of constant light. To make the shapes of bright stars stop fading from my sight as soon as they are birthed by the night. 

Now I’m outside, I tell myself that I can’t make the present perfect, and that’s alright.


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