Out of Charge

Photo by Castaway Photography


The air conditioner sighs.

You click your pen in an attempt to get both muse and ink flowing. You switch the music

from the heavy, late night rhythms of Arctic Monkeys, to the softer acoustics of Alt J on your

mobile, because you want noise, but nothing too upbeat.


The paper in front of you is blank.

The pen has been left discarded next to your mobile. Your mobile is all you can think about.

This has happened before. It was expected then. It isn’t expected now.

Your friends are at your fingertips. You want to message them but you don’t know what

words to use.

(You don’t want to use the wrong ones, not again.)

The rock in your stomach sinks deeper.

You pick up the pen.

Your breathing shallows.

Do more people leave your life than enter it?


The words on the page are scrawled; your shaking hands make them messier.

You can hear your heart pounding; has it always been that loud?

(It makes you think of ancient warriors beating on a drum.)

Your writing has filled half of the page. That’s good.

You calm slightly.


Anxiety flows through your veins instead of blood.

Someone once told you not to fill your head with worries, but you can’t help it.

You want to sleep: it’s dark outside, your eyes are tiring, but all you can think about is the

text message waiting to be read. You don’t want another ending: you were so sure this one

would last longer.

Someone once told you anxiety was the killer of love. Perhaps they were right?


“It’s not you; it’s me.” It’s so cliché it hurts.

You try to control that feeling in your stomach; try to fix it with the mellow, familiar

drumming of BreezeBlocks.

(The song helped you when you were in hospital, so why isn’t it helping now?)

Another message arrives in your inbox. Without looking, you know who sent it.

The butterfly-like fluttering of your heart returns to the ancient tribal drumming.

(You thought you were better than this.)


You focus on the bed sheets, the way the blankets feel tangled in your toes.

Someone once told you people are saddest at 2am, but if you check the time to verify that

statement, you’ll see the text message.

That’s not an option right now.


Your phone vibrates again.

The notebook and pen clatter to the ground as you twist and turn in bed.

Your fingers slide over the smooth surface of the lamp as you stretch to flick it off at the



Your phone shuts down.

So do you.

Photo by Castaway Photography
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