Inevitably Punctual for Life's Next Appointment

No. I couldn’t change the past. But I could paint the future. Seldom did I ever stop thinking about trying, at least.

The suspense was driving me mad. I stood up, intending to pace the room, walk up the stairs; then – the door opened.

The evening was crisp and chilly. The ghostly wind wafted around me, procuring goose bumps along the length of my arms, underneath a thin-layered shawl. The cold air whooshed into my chest, and the sensation momentarily calmed my panicked thoughts. My mind raced over the times again; the bus route, the dress, the tickets, the map. Time was quickly catching up to me, so I lengthened my stride into a surefooted glide.

I took the steps leading to the magnificent venue two at a time, momentarily acknowledging in my peripheral vision two musicians’ perplexed looks as I passed them. The hefty brass doors groaned when I pushed against them, revealing a dimly lit granite hall. Candles illuminated the intricately golden painted archways, and an array of nature smells overwhelmed me from the greenery strewn across the ceiling like chandeliers. Personnel lined the archways, studiously ignoring the limited number of attendees enjoying a cocktail. My body glided over to the silver satin chair resting in a right-hand corner, and began the long wait for time to pass. Scattered thoughts grasped my meditation, and my mind began to wander down stress-inducing avenues. The family, the house, the dogs, the job, the school. Incoherent thoughts, life long dreams and aspirations, childhood memories. No. I couldn’t change the past. But I could paint the future. Seldom did I ever stop thinking about trying, at least. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a man walk over and settle into the chair next to me. I sent a smile briefly over my face, in his direction, and the settled back into my quickly shifting thoughts.

My mind could not produce with a compelling argument for why I was early, just an unexplainable feeling of necessity to arrive punctual to all of appointments. Childhood dreams had always been composed of future aspirations, of college, graduate school, a job, a family. anxiety over the consequences and repercussions of arriving late drove me to the brink of exhaustion, but it was a feeling that I thrived on. It motivated me to jump out of bed each morning at the sound of my alarm, to quickly plan my day and make some sort of organization out of my life. The clock was always ticking, and there was never a moment for me to sit down and take relaxing break. My mind raced back to my current location in the concert hall.

The suspense was driving me mad. I could feel my irregular heart palpitations beating through my skin, shaking my core. My body fidgeted in the chair; my wrists began to twitch. The inconsistent click of my heel echoed around the room, and a dull motor noise buzzed in the background, intensifying my anxiety. Drops of clammy perspiration irritated the back of my neck. My body was hunched, unable to maintain a strict posture. I stood up, intending to pace the room, walk up the stairs; then – the door opened.

My mind flashed back to reality. The present, if you will. I opened my eyes to classroom walls and ominously sketched clouds visible out the back window. A light breeze brushed my cheek settling my mind into a state of calm. I sighed in resignation, for the scene I had just witnessed was just a dream, a dull yearning for future aspirations to come true. The teacher’s lecture went on uninterrupted, and I raised my hand, to answer the next problem. My obsession with punctuality goes beyond the conventional definition of timeliness. I have characteristically planned out my future to many specific inconsequential details; all the while I am having a panic attack, for I have yet to live any of them in the years to come. I am just inevitably punctual for life’s next appointment.

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