Losing One’s Mind in 2 Minutes and 50 Seconds

Forget your name. Throw your ID away. You don’t need the passport either. Convince yourself that you come from nowhere. You were born out of indefinite matter. You don’t remember how you got to this planet. You don’t really know what a planet is, after all. And why we say after all. Or what we mean by all. Don’t ask too many questions. Just don’t question. Take all for granted. You will live longer. Remember to live though. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in perfect timing. Exhale. Inhale. Hold your breath. Exhale again. Keep track of your breaths. Synchronise your breaths. Do not forget to repeat the cycle over and over. You are not allowed to get this wrong. You are not allowed to get anything wrong. Don’t make mistakes. Don’t make a fool of yourself. Don’t be a fool. Don’t be yourself. You don’t know yourself at all. Don’t get started on all again. All doesn’t mean anything. Anything is just nothing. Nothing is none of your business. Mind your own business. Mind only your own business. But also mind your step. Look down. No need to look up. Live in a bubble. Get yourself a space helmet. Go around with a pair of blinkers. Get some earmuffs as well. While you are at it, put that muzzle on. Now you are ready. There’s no now though. No more time for you. Get rid of that analogue alarm clock. Give away that pricey wristwatch. Ignore any ticking, ringing, chiming, sandflow, cockcrow. Discard any calendar, planner, timetable, programme, diary. No doubt you can find all these things on your precious phone. It’s no longer your precious phone because at this point it belongs to the waves, or perhaps to the flames. Either will work. It’s up to you. You are to decide on your own. Be on your own all the time. Get motherless, fatherless, friendless and dogless. Deny maternity, paternity, friendship and ownership to each of them. No more family gatherings, nights out at the pub or afternoon walks in the park. You will spend all the remaining festivities, nights and afternoons of your life at home. Alone. Shut yourself up on such occasions or, better still, on every occasion. Never step outside unless you would like the sunshine to melt you or the moonshine to freeze you. Change your lock twice. Barricade every window. Soundproof every wall. Waterproof the roof. Bulletproof the doorway. Bombproof the whole house, you never know. Don’t worry about loneliness. You are better off on your own. Remember, loneliness rarely kills. If you feel too lonely, pick up where you and your old bodiless friends left off. Speak to a few of your countless selves, they will always come up with something out of this world. Listen to those voices echo in and out of your mind so that you will not fear silence any longer. Stare right at the chandelier until your eyes hurt and your room will fill up with whatever you can spot. Repeat all of this again and again. Do it all day. Do it all night too. No need to sleep. Never close your eyes. Do not blink. You will lose a little of your life whenever you do. Little by little, you will end up wasting it all. No one will give you back what you should have saved. Do not eat. Remember, you can’t go out to buy more provisions. Do not drink. The tap water is probably poisoned. Anything you will ingest might get stuck in your throat and make you gasp for air until you choke. Anything you will sip might flood your lungs and make you flail in agony until you drown. Do not walk in the dark. Do not walk. Stay in bed. Stay right there.  Stay still. Do not move. You should be safe at this point. We should be safe at this point.

by Italo Ferrante

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