The man sat in the chair. He stared blankly ahead with each hand clutched onto the arms of the chair. The blackened soles of his feet were fixed on the dirty wooden floor. It was silent aside from the faint ticking of a clock. The afternoon sun was hidden by the window blinds that had not been opened in weeks. A lamp missing a shade sat on top of a stack of philosophy books beside him. The single light bulb screwed into the lamp brightened up the bedroom and captured his silhouette on the wall. He ran his hand over the heavy stubble on his face and up through his uncombed, gray streaked hair. His fingertips were bleeding and sore from his recently formed nail biting habit, yet he still placed them between his teeth and nervously bit down, wincing before he removed them from his mouth. To lessen the pain, he blew on his fingertips and aggressively shook his hand. He studied his wounded stubs and let out a defeated groan. No longer wanting to wear his stained white t-shirt, he yanked it over his head and tossed it into the corner of the bedroom with the rest of his dirty clothes. He sank down into the chair, leaned his head back and closed his eyes while he took a long drawn out breath. His tight grip on the chair returned. Racing thoughts provoked him to cry out and slam his fists down repeatedly on his lap. He focused on the ticking clock. It calmed him quicker than it did in the past. He opened his eyes, lifted up his head, and took notice of the sunlight's attempt to pierce through the blinds. Taking another deep breath, he reached over to the light and switched it off. The darkness did not comfort him anymore. He staggered to his feet, stepped over to the window and opened the blinds.
Janelle Tweed is a writer living in New York.
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