These are trying times. 

As a man who creates from imagination, terror is this blank cheque on my darkest imaginings that no longer seem far-fetched because the far-fetched happens. I know. These days we call it a regular Tuesday. 

I never would have predicted the fears I have now, the worries I have, the normal now: the lethal breath of strangers –we hope, the six feet of distance, the catch in the lungs, the stroke if you’re young. I could have imagined it; just not as plausible within my realm of possibilities. Whatever that means these days.

Things are bad enough as it is. Plans are up in the air with disease. There’s really no point rehashing what we already know. Some days are good and most days are bad. For the most part, this is how I get by: 

I wake up in the morning and I open my curtains. Small gesture, big symbol. It says I’ll let in the day, not hide from it. I’ll thrive, or at least try. Look, here comes the sun. 

I’ll make like I care in the hopes that I fall back into a pattern of caring. I’ll wash my hair and spray cologne, use hand cream and light scented candles. These little rituals of loving life, reminding me to not forget that I live.

Every morning I’ll open my curtains. Sometimes, only long enough to admit I’m still not all right and get back into bed to try again. And try is what we do, one day at a time.

Maybe today the scent of sandalwood would shake a childhood memory loose to glow in the dark. Maybe the boy on the inside will sniff the man in the mirror, smelling of Versace and better days, and maybe he’ll laugh at his vanity.

Hopefully the next laugh will be easy and the next laugh after that. And if it’s not, I’ll open my curtains in the morning.  


About Chiedozie Dike

Chiedozie is a lawyer and writer. He is a mental health survivor and believes fiction is a great tool for raising awareness about mental health.