She stared at her blank computer screen steadily, the blinking cursor taunting her. It stayed stagnant, just like the thoughts in her head. Only one question flashed across her mind over and over –
Where will I go?
She silently scoffed at her own cliché. The age old question – the future – which was asked by millennia of teenagers before her. Though she knew she wasn’t alone in her anxiety and confusion, she couldn’t help but feel lonely; the world was caught up with themselves, and so was she, absorbed by the still blank computer screen.
The future was slippery, and no matter how hard she tried to grasp onto it, it fell through her fingers. It didn’t matter what method she used.
She tried an agenda – a medium-sized moleskine notebook that seemed to burn a hole in her wallet. Writing her plans down only made them seem closer.
She tried a whiteboard calendar, a gift from a dear friend. If only her friend knew that she spend hours glaring at the board, cursing it for its fullness, yet lamenting when it was empty.
She tried a little pocket notebook, which admittedly cost less than the moleskine. She poured herself into the book, the pages rapidly filling as she wrote the same to-do lists, over and over again; her writing grew more and more frantic, slanting heavily with each stroke.
There was no time to waste, she thought, but she wrote her weekend plans three times over, as if that’ll secure her future. The checklists she had written down never diminished in size, but her anxiety grew. Before long, her anxiety spread from the pages of her notebooks to her hands, and she found them shaking often, a quiet intermittent tremor – another thing she could not control.
Her frustration swelled so quickly, that she didn’t even realize her nails were digging into the skin of her palms, creating crescent-like indents. She was too preoccupied with her rapid heartbeat – the shaking spread to her legs; she tried making herself as small as possible, folding her body into itself.
The most unbearable thing was the fear.
There was no control, no stop button, for the tensing of her limbs. All she could do was wait for the shaking to subside, but the fear lingers. It haunts her at nights, it appears during the day, and no list or whiteboard or notebook would be able to solve her fear.
Her hands twitched as the blank computer screen stared back at her, daring her to ruin the emptiness. With a final glance with her shaking hands, she began typing. There was no control, and she doubted she’d ever have it. But she held no illusions now; no list or whiteboard would help her hold onto the future; there was no use in dwelling on the future when her present was slowly slipping away too. With a wary determination, she began to type, finally beginning her checklist.
It wasn’t long before she realized her fingers had stopped shaking.