the bright monitor
glares through inky darkness--
a clock ticks
My heart lurches painfully in my chest as my mind tries to process what I'm seeing. My mug of coffee sits on the coffee table -- how fitting -- beside my laptop, releasing its unique aroma into the dim room. The scent is usually comforting, yet I don't feel comforted. The liquid usually warms my sleepy body, yet I feel cold.
Suddenly, life seems utterly ridiculous. I woke up ten minutes ago to the sound of a blaring alarm, and already I'm on my laptop. I haven't even been awake for a quarter of an hour, and I'm already on the internet. To read my e-mails, to skim over online newspapers, to check the daily weather forecast. To connect to an increasingly disconnected world.
And now, inevitably, I'm on Facebook.
teem with comma splices--
Yes, it's all ridiculous. Why do I care that a "friend" of mine is having eggs for breakfast? Why do I care that another "friend" is shopping for shoes today and hopes to find a pair to match her new dress? I don't care, yet here I am. And now, as I stare at the third status update, I bite the inside of my cheek so hard I taste blood. With a metallic taste in my mouth, I re-read it once again: "RIP Timothy. You have touched so many lives and will be missed more than you know. See you on the other side."
The news crashes over me like ice water; at first, numbing, and then so painful I can't breathe. Someone I've known since kindergarten is dead. Gone. Forever. And even though he and I were never close, I have more memories of him than I do of some of my closest friends.
And now he has touched me in a way that most of my friends never will -- he has reminded me of mortality. He has reminded me that death is not an abstract concept reserved for breaking news stories or unrealistic cop shows.
leaks through heavy curtains--
a phone vibrates
I barely notice the blinking red light on my Blackberry. I continue to stare at my computer screen, unsure of whether I should be laughing or crying. Facebook has not only become a place for wedding or pregnancy announcements. It's not only a place for photo-shopped pictures of exaggerated happiness. It has become an obituary -- an early-morning slap in the face.
It saddens me that all I know (or knew) of Timothy is what he chose to include in his Facebook profile. The little boy from my childhood is gone, and now the faceless man I never really knew is gone too.
I close my laptop. I eat breakfast, have a quick shower, get dressed. And then I go to work. Because, really, what else is there to do?