In all things worth doing, in all journeys worth taking, and in all life worth living, one could be in three places. One could be in the beginning, one could be in the ending, or one could be in the dreaded middle.
The beginning of all things was loud and fresh! It was in the “”can’t get enough of you”” kisses. It was in the commute that felt like a scene from a film. Beginnings were beautiful because they meant change; scary, of course, but once you took the plunge: absurdly exciting!
The ending of all things was about coming full circle. It was in the claps, the smiles, or in the acceptance of tides turning yet again, albeit towards better shores. Endings were all about pain, at first, and finally, relief; they were about deep sighs and bittersweet smiles.
Then, there was the middle. It came on a random day, unannounced. Then, it stuck. It was in the tiny pause after every I love you uttered. It was in the arguments on the subway because as much as you knew which station the train approached, you didn’t have a clue where you were going.
The problem with the middle wasn’t its stubborn tediousness, though. Rather, that it was invisible. The beginnings mattered to you, the endings mattered to others, and the middles were oddly absent from the narrative of everything that mattered to anyone.
No one told you about the days Kafka spent hating himself for not writing a word. Not a single soul talked about Bukowski’s lost years. Hemingway’s missing pages were seldom mentioned. The middle was a test. It was the puddle of dirt we had to cross all by ourselves, floating in cluelessness, wondering whether we even got anywhere at all.
It felt like sitting on a train that never stopped, continually hearing the jarring chug, the periodic scream of the horn, staring at the same people with their sickly expressions. It was in spending an eternity stuck in one place.
On most days, it felt like you’d wasted a lifetime on the train to nowhere. You felt deaf, unable to hear anything beyond the white noise of effortful uselessness.
Then one day, it ended, just as it had begun: unannounced.