Mindless

The thrumming of the fan, just slightly off-kilter, was beating incessantly against his already exhausted brain. His eyes passed over the same sentence again, and again, and one final time before realizing he had no memory or understanding of a single word on the page. He sighed, too hot to even be angry and too apathetic to be able to focus. A bouncy ball sat on his desk, a good-sized one, like a baseball. One of those you pick up from a stand that’s trying to get you signed up to fight for their cause. He gave his signature, took the ball because it was free so naturally he wanted it, and then went on his way, already forgetting what he had signed for. 

Now he took the ball and aimed it at the ground, tossing it hard enough to bounce and hit the wall and come sailing back to him. He threw it again and noticed that there were words on the ball, presumably of the company that had sponsored the booth. He idly thought he would read them when the ball returned but as soon as it touched his hand, he reflexively threw it again. This time when he saw the words fly through the air and he decided that he really didn’t care. 

That not caring feeling felt pretty good. What else did he care about that maybe he should consider just, not? He threw the ball again, the rhythmic bouncing of the ball somehow canceling out the irregular beating of the fan. 

With every bounce on the floor he recalled something he cared about. With every hit on the wall, he stopped caring. Thump, taxes, thump, nothing. Thump, ex-boyfriend, thump, nothing. Thump, doing dishes, thump, nothing. Thump, work, thump, nothing.

After a few minutes, he could no longer think of anything he cared about. The heat, the fan, the people outside were all nothing to him. He felt freer than he had in a long time and he didn’t even care. His arm grew tired, thump, nothing. He started to feel hungry, thump, nothing. Hours passed and a soft-spoken part of his brain told him he should go home but the ball hit the wall a few more times and the voice quieted. He became nothing and he didn’t even care.

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