[ENG] On Miscommunications, Futile Devices


It was supposed to be easy. It was meant to be effortless, gentle, uplifting. But the last time I glanced into some beloved eyes, I was left baffled, with unrequited emotions. It was empowering, in a sense. I knew I would always be in control of everything in my life, but these feelings. All I had to do was to avoid it, simple and clear. I kicked a rock from the entrance of the deserted office building where I’d spend all this time pretending to function and behave according to what I was appointed to do. The rock hit the tire of a car, and then flew down the street. I instantly felt the rush to pick it up, which caused for me to be honked at savagely and yelled at by some angered motorist. I stared, but said nothing. I saw myself throwing the same rock to the back window of the car, without doing it. It wouldn’t help my case. It wouldn’t change the infectious, overbearing behavior of the driver, a behavior that I myself had probably indulged in at some times as well. It illustrated how I would still act impulsively, break everything and immediately try to fix it without feeling remorse or regret. The actions of destroying and rebuilding were effective distractions for moving on from inner disasters.

I looked at the rock in my hand. I was once this kid who would fall off their skateboard from these surprise obstacles. The fall was always brutal; still you would pull yourself together rapidly, get your body off the street so as not to die from an absurd car collision. And you’d do it again. Even if you would one day end up breaking a rib. But someday, you would put away the skateboard. Society’s algorithm, backed-up by your age and professional situation would mark it inappropriate to ride still. You were too busy anyways.

I walked down to the river, by Harbor Front. It was hard to be mad these days, anger would generally turn into sadness and instead of crying I just wish I would dive into the water. I pictured myself emerging, my white-button up shirt sheered with water, wet hair plaster on my skull. With no face make-up worn, it wouldn’t look so dramatic. I sighed.

I looked at my phone again, by habit. It was lighter that the stone I had not thrown, yet. Not seeing what I wanted to see upon my screen almost made me crack wide open. Problem is that I had no idea exactly what I wanted to see on it. A name? Those eyes? Lyrics of my favorite song? A message from the dead? Or a black screen of death? Instead, it light up steadily to the time, date and temperature. I turn off the screen and turned it on again. Same light, same date, same temperature. This device was the milestone of my life.

And I wish I could throw my phone away. It was a lot of money to waste. The device was dirty. Not matter how I cleaned it, there was nothing that could prevent it from being taken over with overwhelming, heavy thoughts and emotions from people. People reaching out. People taking. People sharing. People shouting. It was full of faces. Images. Objects. Places. My phone dragged me in a purgatory I had built myself in. I threw it back in my purse. The designer handbag, the tailored-shirt, the phone; oh! How good they look on me. How everything looked good on me. But all I would hope for was to do and say all they would go through my mind and look normal. I walked to the nearest restaurant, with a patio facing the water. ”For two?” asked the waitress. ”Yes”, I thought. A seat for me and for all these who won’t know, who won’t ever come. For those who’d need a drink after I drown. For those who wanted to get with me, but not to be with me. I stared at the sun, it would not set for one more hour, maybe two. I took my phone out, staring at it. I could not make up my mind about informing the people I had to meet that I would not make it, or calling some other to inform them that I crisis had happened. I sighed. Out of my destructive instinct, I knew deep inside that breaking the phone would not fix anything. I let the waiter pour my drink. I felt helpless already, I knew my whole self-being would be weeping within a few minutes, a tear-less event. And then, I would shake it off, get myself together and do it all again. Some never learn, it makes them very successful according to laws of modern society.

- Christelle St-Julien

Illustration: Eve Gaboury

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