Even with the doors to my room and my cousin’s room shut and while my laptop, Old Faithful, is purring heavily, I can hear the shuffling of feet from the floor above and a baby crying from the house next door. Neither last long. I assume the persons making them fall into a contented sleep. I envy their ability to seemingly nod off, as if the world and its exigencies are mere annoyances and not a stark white, and also black, reality we have to confront with each rising of the sun. From the other bedroom, I can hear my cousin’s muffled laughter. He is probably chatting up one his lady friends, sharing naughty nothings in the darkness before he drifts off. I will know he is asleep when a shortish silence precedes the rumble of a rhythmic snore.
Despite my awareness of the world around me, I often feel disconnected from it all. This, I only notice in retrospect, when I am sitting in gridlocked traffic on my way home or when I am listening to people talking around me and find myself unable to relate to or attach any part of myself to the goings-on. I know the drill in social situations: the expected words I can say, throwing in the occasional bender, timing my laughter just right when a joke is made, where to make the uhms and ooohs and aaahs, when to insert the requisite silences. I know how to keep myself hidden. Who would understand this particular isolation anyway?
I know I may not be the only one who feels these things. I would like to connect with someone who is as disjointed as I am, to reach out and run my fingers along their edges and let them feel mine. The irony here is if I often feel detached, how would I find someone who shares my sentiments, considering they would also not know connect? How would I go about finding similarly-hewn pieces of this particular puzzle to share and interlock with their jaggedness? As I fade into sleep, a last thought keeps lingering at the edges of my conscience, coming to the centre as I fall deeper: maybe I am searching for the wrong thing. There is no puzzle for me to be a part of.