I don’t remember what happened exactly. I never do. Sometimes all I see are little warnings, like slight movements in my peripheral vision, like standing on a beach and being rushed by a violent tide, bam! the glass is down and I’m trapped again.
That’s when the shadows take over. That’s when I want to be alone with them and when I want to be apart from them. Their familiarity is comforting, like the caress of a serated blade that tells you you’re still alive. But shadows don’t make good companions — they’re full of jealousy and lies. And after a while, their lies are my only truth. And what then should I believe? What should a creature like me do?
Sometimes you get this flight or fight feeling that tears you apart like a tempest inside. Some say it’s just cortisol or adrenaline, others say it’s the remnants of dead dreams left behind in yours veins that drives such rage. Isn’t it funny? So many millennia of evolution and we’re still basically creatures writhing in the dark, controlled by chemical reactions and desperate desires, like puppets teased by strings.
But that’s what living in a jar is like. There’s nowhere to go — for you or your shadows. They eat and breathe with you, they selfishly keep you awake just to watch them dance at night. And soon the shadows press themselves against the glass, obscuring the world until you can no longer see out and others can’t see in.
Sometimes people tap on the glass out of curiosity just to see what’s inside. All I can do is silently shout at them to leave me alone, while secretly wishing they would lift the jar and save me.
And then somebody did. Her name was Love. She was beautiful and every cell of my pathetic body wanted to embrace her until Love and I became one. But as she lifted the jar, I knew I didn’t deserve her. All I could do was watch in terror as my familiar shadows escaped! I pushed her away. ‘Those shadows are mine.’ I said, ‘Give them back!’. And so like the same poles of a magnet that can never meet, invisible forces inside fuelled by chemicals and the scent of spoiled dreams prised me and Love apart.
Of course, I’m aware that this is an awful way to lead your life — to be always alone in company, to constantly push away Love and cling onto the shadows inside. But it’s all I know. Sometimes it’s all I have. What else does a pitiful, useless insect like me deserve! Tell me, because I don’t know.
It took all of my strength, but today I finally learned to lift the jar a little. Just enough to keep my shadows in, just enough so I could walk around with it. I moved to where the sun began to bleed through my shadows so I could see out, to where I could smell and taste again; to where people lived, I learned to smile again and we smiled at each other through the glass, and then bam! before I knew it, another jar was placed on top.
But one day I’ll learn how to lift both jars at once, and perhaps if Love does come back she’ll lift one for me.