From the Journal of the Great Leader | Age 19

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April 15th, 2022

I killed a spider and it haunted my sleep. I can’t say if I dreamed. If it wasn’t a dream then what I know as reality is much more mysterious than I’d considered.

The other day I stared at the cursor on my word processor for so long I eventually went numb to everything else. It could have been how tired I was, but as I looked into the steady black arrow on my computer I saw nothing else. I was even without myself. Everything melted away and I was weightless, staring at the pixels on the screen. The tension behind my eyes, a tightness I barely knew was there until this moment, left me like a breeze through a just-opened window.

When I looked away from the cursor and stood up I felt brand new, welcomed to a world without worry. Whatever there was to fret about went forgotten. The things were still there but the worry was gone. Maybe that’s how tired I was. Too worn to worry. The exams and this job. The meager hours in a day.

When I eventually slept it had been the first time in sixty-two hours. I read something once that said you can go three days without sleep before things get truly detrimental. As I write this, I notice the “mental” part of the word “detrimental” for the first time. I’ve been on the detri side of mental for a while. Even before this sixty-two-hour stretch.

But I killed a spider just before finally going to bed. After all this existential stuff with the cursor, a few minutes passed and the euphoria faded. My tired reality came rushing back. I was miserable, absent from an operational mind. The poor spider fell victim to my vacant curiosity. Life was any other object in the room. I was too worn to apparently keep a harmless spider alive.

The spider was in the bookcase. I watched it walk on the highest shelf for a few seconds before tilting the book beside it off balance. The shadow of the book eventually swallowed the spider and whomp. I lifted the book and the spider’s legs twitched. I pressed my thumb to whatever life remained and felt its bubble pop.

In that instant, I felt awful. I’d killed insects and spiders before but never had it felt like this. I could still feel the sensation on my thumb even after washing it a few times. As I lay in bed I picked at my thumb.

At some point in the night, I saw the spider. I don’t know how to describe it visually but I felt it. It wasn’t upset with me, or happy, or giving off any kind of general emotion. It was simply there. I stared at it for a while. Neither of us blinked. I was guilty of its death and yet it didn’t blame me. I don’t know what I expected from death, but this was somehow far from what I’d imagined. Not my death, but death in general. Death at all.

With what sleep I did get I feel a little better. I can’t shake the spider, but I plan to go for a run soon and that usually resets me. I think I might quit the grocery job. The money helps but I could probably find something with fewer hours for just as much. I should have enough for the studio rent for another few months. Maybe it’s okay to take some time to figure things out. Better to not ask mom for more money though.

Off to bio-chem class.

***

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