The golden light comes through the window blinds, lazily casting a spotlight on the dust in the air. I sit at the edge of my seat, my shoulders slumped, my eyes downcast, and my mind filled with everything I shouldn’t be thinking of and nothing to do with the work at hand. My laptop is laid open in front of me on the long glass table, quietly humming. The screen is a blank document, pure white, a flickering black cursor line taunting me in the top left corner. I sit silently, counting proverbial sheep in my mind’s eye, as the emerald green grandfather clock goes tick tock in the background.
Glumly, I scratch my ear and run my hand through my hair.
“Hello world.” I type, pecking at the keys.
I press the delete key, once, twice, nine times more until nothing is left on my screen except that taunting black cursor in the top left corner.
I hate that cursor.
I straighten my back and run my fingertips over the metallic black keyboard. Finally, they settle in that position I learned so many years ago in elementary school, when writing was easy and school seemed more like a lesson in fun rather than a lesson in boredom.
Pointer fingers on the “F” and “J” keys. Thumbs on the space bar. The rest of my fingers fall into line, mirroring each other on that smooth metallic black keyboard.
I look down and immediately chide myself.
“Don’t look at the keyboard.” I echo in my head, the ghost of my old computer teacher still haunting me.
And so I began to write.
First the easy part. Name, date, period, class. Title, what should the title be?
“Honey, I shrunk the kids.”
No, that’s been done before.
Clearly I’ve begun to struggle.
Dot. Dot. Dot. More time passes.
“A short story written for the Phreaner writing contest.”
God, I’m clever sometimes.
I look around and write eight quick words, use a comma, a brief pause to look around and take in the scene, and ten more words come. I struggle through this bit, the introduction. A quick description of the setting, a brief background, and I’m off, the flags been waved and the lights turned green.
I hit enter. A new line, a new paragraph.
I hit enter again. The words are coming far easier now, better, faster, stronger.
Now that Kanye West song is stuck in my head again.
I hit enter one more time, more confidently than the times before. The words come too quickly now. It’s like a dam has been broken in my mind and all I can do is write and write and write and the words won’t stop and neither will I because I never know when the dam will close up again until it eventually I feel like I am gasping for air and my mind has far outpaced my own fingers which dance across that metallic black keyboard until finally I cannot keep up and have to force myself to stop, to slow down, to think.
I look down, ghost of teachers past be damned. My hands are splayed across the keyboard, representative of a dead fish. My fingers are tired. The dam’s been closed up again. I take a break.