I touch the tabletop underneath my hands, and it is solid. It is grounded. It has a purpose, and it fulfills it without even thinking twice. If you knock on it, it has its own distinct sound. A sound known to more than just me.
I press my fingers into the soft laminate. Tiny fingerprints embed themselves across its surface, allowing me to leave evidence that at some moment in time, I was here.
None of this looks familiar to me, but it is my home now. I punch in my identifying numbers at exactly 8:55 am. My time here is beginning, and I walk out onto the floor, melting into the hustle and bustle occupying the overcrowded aisles that surround me. Polite smiles are given through thin pieces of fabric; overly enthusiastic words spew over the loudspeakers and mix with the shrill beeping of the technology we all depend on so heavily.
I wonder if we are all just pretending to be okay.
When I close my eyes at night, this is not the future I dream of. $13.25 does not make a home, but maybe the home we all dream of is just a place we will never have. Spending too much time inside a head that sees life as more grandiose than the dull hum of these fluorescent lights could ever allow.
I can’t step through a mirror and get to the other side. There is no secret door or hidden key waiting to unlock the scenes inside this reverie.
All I have is what’s before me.
Palms flat on the cold laminate of this table. Feeling the tiny dips and rough patches tugging across my skin. What I know is what I can feel. What I can grip onto. It is what holds me down and holds me back. It is the dull hum of an air conditioner always set just a few degrees too cool. A blinking overhead light and a siren blaring in the distance. The strident sounds and glaring lights flashing across a table that is somehow, always dusty.
This may not be the home I dreamed of, but this is the home I have.