It’s raining outside. Droplets bead on my windows forming a scatter pattern that makes me think of insect swarm behavior. All the bees which used to bury me are dead, now. I spend the morning cleaning my apartment and settle in to answer emails in the afternoon. In these days of waiting, my email beckons constantly like a siren’s call. So I must distract myself where possible.
The selections committee promised a response in the second week of March. It is now the first week of April and I am going mad.
In my Inbox there are plenty of emails, but scanning quickly through them it is clear that none are from the University of Maryland or bear the subject line RE: Your Proposal. There is an email from my father, asking whether I’ve found anything yet and letting me know it looks to be a warm year in Kansas again. There are several emails regarding the large metal toolbox filled with tools that I posted for sale on craigslist, but I saw it in the garage again last night and I’m reconsidering selling it altogether.
There is an email from myself, titled “suicide thoughts,” which I have a dim memory of sending from the bar last night. Nothing else looks interesting so I read it first.
Subject: suicide thoughts
Sent: 3:08 PM
i can’t go on like this i can’t go on i can’t
i would have heard by now plan b I need a plan b
i have no money i can’t go on
i should kill myself (if i havent heard by the end of May)
I muse for a moment on the fact that I cared enough to title this drunken missive to myself. I read it again and feel none of the passionate, world-weary moroseness that I dimly recall having as I typed it. Instead I feel cold and logical – yes, it’s true that I have no money and no plan B. In all likelihood, had my grant been accepted I would have been contacted by now. The misery of another rejection – and this from the University of Maryland, for god’s sake – will be too much for me when it comes and I will run a warm bath that evening with Chopin and a pair of safety razors that I bought this morning for the purpose.
Three weeks. It’s been three weeks. When did the misery set in? Was I as miserable then as I am now? How long have I been this way? How long have I been depressed and waiting?
A new email arrives from my father.
Subject: Checking in!
Sent: 3:05 PM
Haven’t heard form you. We’re worried! Write back soon.
I delete it and pour myself a drink, which I will drink alone in my bathrobe in the room with my computer, listening for the native call of its email client like the buzz of bees.