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Life: You Are Not Alone | Ntege Shalif

These, one’s addictions and the people around them makeup one's life. Laying in bed, with a laptop next to him, in total darkness the window drapes were meant to allow in rays of light. He kept pressing next, next and next after every episode ended. Usually, it would have taken him a week to go through a whole season but now it takes hours. The only time he ever moved out of bed was to take a leak, open the bread, a bag of crisps or a bottle of coke. There were bread crumbs and potato crisps filled in his bed sheets.

But this could not bother him, as long as he could try to blow some whenever he was uncomfortable or shake the bed sheets whenever he got out to pee, everything was right. In the first two weeks, he could go out of bed to cook, but when there was no more food in the fridge, he started eating all the cereal he could find. What started as a lazy day, had become a lazy illness. All this started after a loss for the fourth time.

He knew it as a fact that for a good plan, one with guaranteed success, one must plan for everything. Well, everything. You have to think about it every passing hour. You have to think about it every passing day. You keep playing it in your head, and in every scenario, you get to know what might go wrong and you plan for that too. You tell no one about your plan because people are not shaded with paint to identify who will support you and who won’t. From high school, he had a plan. A great plan. Well, it was to take a few years to see it through but it was the right plan.

What’re a few years! So he heads out into the world more ambitious and naive than those before him. And after four years, the world told him no. Well, that hurt. He felt a little down for a day and that's when it hit him, he still had a great plan, he needed only to change a few details and everything will be as before. Well, the change needed a few years to implement them in his grand plan. And so he lost not his focus, he gave in everything, time, money and sweat and after two years, the world had the same answer as before.

No. He was not as depressed as before. Maybe it was not the first time the world rejected him so he did not lose his mind or sleep over this. He thought to himself, “if a man meets his destiny at the very path he takes to avoid it, I am no coward. I seek mine, but if my destiny is to fail, someone should say something or send me an email.” I have come a long way, I cannot be going the wrong way. He took a day, thinking and made more tweaks to his plan. And this time he also made a second plan. Any normal person would have been torn into two trying to see through two different plans that are different in every way.

But he was not like everyone else. And with his faith in a strong being called the creator and Greek astrology, nothing could keep this Gemini down. Nothing. And so it took five years with him going through the emotions of the day but with one concrete coin in his mind. It's either heads or tails. He has two plans, if one doesn't go through it's definitely the other. But something strong believers forget is that while they have their plans, the beings they believe in also have their plan and at the end of the five-year mark, the world told him no, twice.

Now that's personal, that's the only thing that shakes one's belief in the existence of a strong being. But that cannot be it, if he pissed off the creator in the previous life, the creator cannot be still holding a grudge. It can’t be. It’s impossible. So is it him? Isn't he good enough? But he's Gemini. It’s an insult to even think that. How stupid can some people think of a Gemini? No. No. like that song on the radio, you have to try… try again. He had to try again, so he drew a new plan, and he accounted for everything.

Ok, not everything. This was a great plan. The best, so he did not account for failure. And two years later, him marking off the checkpoints without even checkpoints or a second to breathe or blow candles on a cake, walking on a snowy day and a summer hot day like they are the same like he lost his emotions or his senses, the world had the same answer. No. So he decided to take a day. Just stay home. Be lazy for once. And that's how we got to five weeks of him, watching all those tv shows and series. He kept clicking next and next and next.

From one day to one week to five weeks. There was no more food in the apartment. He was too lazy to cook, how was he ever going to go buy more food? So he became hungry and hungry until it was hurting so much that he finally got out, put on a hoodie, sweat pants and sandals and went to buy more food at the supermarket. Just as he stepped out, the sun was too bright in his eyes that he needed a minute to adjust to seeing in such brightness. There was a change in the air. He realised how bad he smelled. He hadn’t taken a bath but who cares. He bought a lot of things to last a year.

While he was moving, all he could see were people rushing from nothing to nothing. Whatever it is, it doesn't matter. They are even going to die someday. The homeless man a few blocks from the supermarket, why even bother giving him his change, just to prolong his misery? Just to enable him to be homeless for a few more days. Seeing the world again made him want to die. Made him want to wish that everyone died. While walking back home, he realised, life is the biggest video game. The biggest ever made. The biggest to ever exist.

It has the highest definition graphics, it never freezes, and it also has non-player characters, those are the people you never interact with. Of course like any video game, it has challenges. A lot of them with different levels of difficulty. Some players start with a lot of coins, and some start with none, but they all have to play through the challenges. The other thing he realised is that no one has life figured out. Hurt or pain is like oxygen, everyone has their share. Everyone is playing a game they do understand not. He was out and done paying. Years of anger, loss, pain, frustration, grief, all these emotions in his head added up to nothing.

He was feeling nothing. He did not care if there was a bombing somewhere. He did not care if there was a landslide somewhere. He did not care at all. He finally got home, drank soda and ate some bread, and he pressed play on his laptop. It became two months, then three then five. He had watched most and started repeating some. Slowly he became more and more lazy or weak and even getting out of bed to pee was hard. Very hard. Like lifting a car with your bare hands. He did not want to move at all.

He just wanted to stay in one place and laugh at the same jokes he had been laughing at and watch the same shows he had been watching the thousandth time. It was not stale to him, it was safe. Here he was comfortable and confident. Not one thing will disappoint him because he has already watched whichever episode that was playing like eighty times. The silent walls in his room will always be silent, and he will watch his shows, doze off and sleep, wake up and rewatch his shows forever. With every passing day, his brain began to fade away from him, lessening in ideas and thoughts. His thoughts became thinner and thinner.

His bones weighed heavier and heavier and his skin became dense and dense. It’s not just that he had gained a little weight, it was like gravity on him was heavier and the earth was pulling him in, hadn’t it been for the bed between the two? One particular day, he was half dead, lying in bed, listening to the silent walls with his mind or what was left of it trying to conjure up a dream but in lack of thoughts. He had been half woke for an hour or maybe five minutes, he couldn't tell. The pain from his bladder was rising every second.

What started as a lazy day had become a lazy illness that even when he tried to think about moving, and getting up, it was like he weighed a ton and couldn't lift his own arm. This went on for some time until somehow, he pushed himself over the bed and fell on the carpet. To this day, it's a miracle and he still wonders where the energy came from, but the strongest belief is that there was someone or something that pushed him off the bed.

It had to be. He was too weak to move his own fingers. He thought it in his mind, he tried to move them but they could not move. There had to be something or someone who pushed him off the bed. It’s the simplest explanation. He got up, walked in darkness without turning on a light and managed to reach the bathroom and relieved the pressure and pain from his bladder. With staggering movements, he walked back but stepped on a gamepad on the floor and fell into a chair in his bedroom. It hurt so much but he was too weak to even shout at himself. He stayed where he had fallen for a few minutes, took a deep breath and then went into the kitchen to make a few eggs.

He turned on the gas, put on a frying pan and poured oil in it. He then broke three eggs into a cup. He went into his room to pick salt, where he had left it weeks ago and then something miraculous happened. It's like someone whispered to him to go to the window. Look outside. Hurry, it might go away. Rush before it disappears. Wherever the thought came from, he walked to the window, moving slowly one leg after another on the carpet so as not to fall again. Finally, he reached, kneeling into the chair that was by the window, he opened the drapes. It was so beautiful.

He really believed there was someone or something watching and directing him. He would never have gotten out of bed just to look out the window. Why would he even do that? He is not crazy… but this time was special. They were so tiny and beautiful. They came slowly navigating the soft winds and landing on the window glass. He had never seen snowflakes up close. The detail in them. It was cold on the window surface. He kept staring at them fall and fall, and on the window sill and on the ground below. Winter is so beautiful when it's not accompanied by strong storms and extremely cold temperatures.

He cracked the window open, just a little to let in a few snowflakes. It was warm inside but those few fleeting moments before they melt were magical. Just as he opened the window, a cold fresh zephyr blew in, something smelled weird. He hadn’t bathed. No, that's not the smell. It’s definitely not. Dirty clothes, no… it smells like… shit, he left oil on the stove. He rushed back to the kitchen and the frying pan had a fire in it. Burning causes smoke to fill in the kitchen. He rushed to the apartment door to turn off the gas because he couldn’t get near the fire.

He then started fetching water from the sink and pouring it into the frying pan whilst running away from the flames and splashing and getting drops of water bouncing off the hot frying pan. It took a lot of tries to put out the fire and after, he sat down for a minute to gather his breath. He then started cleaning, slowly and slowly and before he could notice, all the dirty dishes were sparkling again. He re-made the eggs and made tea and after eating his meal, he went back to his bedroom. He had left the window open. It was now cold inside and a few snowflakes had collected on the arm of the sofa.

While closing the window, it hit him, they are all going to melt away. He will forget about them and he will go on with his life, wait, what life? He has no life. He is not living. He is existing. Just moments ago, he had almost burned down the house and who knows where the fire was going to spread. At least there's something to remember or forget about the snowflake, what will anyone remember about him? He did not succeed at anything. He did not fail at anything. Well, he tried but is that all? Are four tries enough? He just gave up. At least they should remember him as the guy who kept trying.

If you're living someplace I do not know, carrying a name I have never heard of and you're doing a lot of nothing, you gave up, of course, no one will remember anything. He kept cleaning his room but with deep thoughts coming to his head, gushing like they have been piling for a while and someone just opened the tap. He then took a bath and also shaved. Then he went to the supermarket to buy a soft drink to take while he heads to work. If he is remembered as the man who kept trying, let it be, at least that's something.

He always used the same supermarket, and usually, they just say hello to each other and that's it. They never talked with the attendant. And like always, they said hello to each other but after scanning the bar code from the bottle, the supermarket attendant asked, with concern and curiosity, that he failed to take the money. “How have you been, it's been some time since I last saw you” In his eyes, you could really tell he was eager to listen to whatever he was going to say. Like he really cared. With those simple words, he never felt more alive. It's the happiest he's ever been the whole year.

Well, in this video game, there are good non-player characters. Whether he succeeds or not, the point is, did he live, and for the first time since forever, he was alive? And he was living. Not existing but living.

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