There was a Japanese invasion on my desk this morning. My meager possessions–laptop, backpack, stainless cups, rolling drawer–were transferred to the cubicle at the back, transposed, effortlessly, like cells in a spreadsheet. Tiny red ants crawled on my new desk. I investigated the cause. Biscuit wrappers lay at the bottom of the plastic trash bin. Someone told me the woman who once occupied my desk now lives in a province up North, tending to mountain goats.
You face your laptop and engage in a nonsensical staring contest with the cursor of your word processor. It blinks 24, 924 times per second; your eyes are watering from the effort of one, trying to keep awake whilst wondering why your coffee is beginning to taste like water and two, trying not to cry because you convinced yourself last night that this will be easy as pie. But ironically, the damn cursor wins and you lose. So you step out of your stuffy room, lean on a wall and smoke your imaginary cigarettes. You finish your whole pretend pack of Marlboro Lights and mentally curse yourself because your mind drifts off to the wrong kind of cancer. You think about that kid in a hospital in Pasay–a total stranger–who is lying on a hospital bed with a big countdown clock hanging over her head. Leukemia, the Big C, is her time bomb. You wonder what yours might be. And then you remember a Palahniuk quote which goes: “This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.” The words trigger something in your head so you go back to your room, still stuffy despite putting the electric fan on full-blast. You face your laptop again, crack your knuckles, and stretch your arms. This time, the cursor barely blinks.