Faulty Taps

A portrait:

Sleep, eyes wide shut, limbs eerily stiff, spread out, palms down.

The camera circles around me, then quivers, flickering.

Something is wrong.

I know this before I should, because this is a dream, this is my dream, this is my own doing. I have written this play for myself and I know how it ends.

Sound infiltrates the lens, a curious tap, tap, tap.

Knock on the door? No.

The sound has a liquid quality to it, a fluidity, a slosh. I hear the hiss of parted air, then the crash, a soft crash, a joyous crash.

A fall. Something falls.

drip. drip. drip.

Not falls- falling.

Falling, falling again and again and again, a cartoon character that zips back to the top of a cliff each time it jumps: the leap, flatten into two dimensions from impact, then bulge, up you go, again, jump.

I think: listen carefully. I think: this is how you should fall. I think: this is very real.

The sound hisses loud, louder, until every drip seems thunderous, vibrant, until this sound is so opaque, it washes me out of my own dream, and there is only this sound, this terrible, joyous sound of a crash, a suicide.

The drip echoes. It hangs suspended, waiting, blurs out into the next drip, waits again, each drip layering on top of the last one, blooming outwards, louder, louder, and the sound is not liquid anymore but a hard tangible thing, a glass sphere, crashing, crashing, crashing, I wake to screams.

I wake to screams.

I breathe.

I breathe like I have only just started to breathe, like I have never taken in air into my body till this second, like the air is poison and salvation at the same time and I don’t know what to do.

My lungs expand, crinkle like rusted paper.

I hold breath in. I remember.

Dreams surface with filters and edits. Mine come out grayscale.

I remember, a portrait: I sleep wearing clothes I do not own, with a face I do not own, a face that is not a face at all, only a grayish blur of flesh.

Did I dream it this way? I wonder.

I hold breath in, I remember the leaking, the endless leaking, I shiver. Cold washes over me. Not over me, to be precise, but under: cold sweeps under my skin and over my bones and I shiver with an uncontrollable urge to laugh, as if I’m being tickled from the inside.

drip. drip. drip.

My brain insists the dream has significance.

My brain guides my hands over the bones of my ribs, my spine, my knees, checking for a leak. My brain points a snaking finger towards the drip in my chest, it takes this sound and stretches it apart until it’s all I can hear:

drip. drip. drip.

Screams in my head and a leak in my chest and all I can think is that I mustn’t let my breath out, I mustn’t let it leak.

I let out clumsy air, then panic, the leak screams I’m fading, as I breathe, I’m fading, I’m fading.

My brain pulls me up and drags me to the sink, it takes my hand and forces me to push my weight on the tap, as if that will stop the sound in my head and the leak in my chest.

Life trickles out anyway, I’m a faulty tap, leaking, leaking, it’s all I can do, it’s all I do.

drip. drip. drip.

If I listen too long, it’ll drive me crazy.

So?

So just stop, my brain says, all reasonable.

Just stop.

Just stop what?

Stop listening.

drip. drip. drip.

But faulty taps leak, you can pretend you don’t hear the water dripping, but faulty taps still leak, and so I fade.

Silence.

Don’t I?

Silence.

If I don’t listen, will I stop fading? If I don’t laugh, will I stop breaking?

Take my advice, it says, with a kindness in its eyes. (Can I see its eyes? Does it have a face? It doesn’t matter.) Don’t breathe too much.

I’ll drip very slow, crack very soft, I say, smile, eyes wide, nodding.

It shrugs.

Maybe they’ll let you leak longer.

. . .

Photo by Anandan Anandan on Unsplash

. . .

PS In June 2019, I will be moving to a new web address. I’m shifting to a personal domain and I’m so, so excited for you to see it! Buying my domain is giving me so much more freedom for new features, design, and I can’t wait for you to get started there.

But on the downside, all those of you who’ve subscribed to my blog here WILL NOT be notified of new posts anymore. I’d hate for you to miss out just because I’ve shifted domains, but WordPress doesn’t offer anything to straighten this out.

So to make sure that the change is as seamless as possible, I’d be so grateful if you’d enter your email ID below so we can stay in touch. You can opt-out any time, no hard feelings. I hate spam and I’ll only be reaching out every two weeks or so for blog updates, I promise.

Thank you so much for all your support.

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123 Comments Add yours

  1. NoblemanWarrior says:

    As always, good work!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Joshua! How have you been?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. NoblemanWarrior says:

      Hey Shreya, I am doing well. Thank you. And you? Excited about the new site coming?

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Yes! And overwhelmed, to be honest. It’s coming out better than I could have ever hoped for, but there’s so, much, work. I’m enjoying it, but at one point, it felt like I’d just bitten off more than I could chew. More manageable once I got the hang of it…
      Any new projects you’re working on now?

      Like

    4. NoblemanWarrior says:

      Well I am glad it’s going a bit more smoothly now that you’re getting the hang of it! I just started a new format for what I am writing. I am hoping this helps me be more consistent. Other than that, working really long days, trying to work on some books on the side, family, etc. Staying busy!

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Busy is good. Hope everything works out!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Cold washes over me. Not over me, to be precise, but under: cold sweeps under my skin and over my bones and I shiver with an uncontrollable urge to laugh, as if I’m being tickled from the inside.”

    It’s lines like those, I live to write.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Paul.<3

      Like

  3. Tom Burton says:

    Beautiful story, Shreya! Love the vivid imagery 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Tom! How are you doing?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Tom Burton says:

      Great, thank you! Still releasing my WIP novel every Monday to see what readers think – got plenty more lined up for the future if that interests you! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    3. That’s great! Looking forward to seeing where it goes, Tom<3

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Tom Burton says:

      Thanks ever so much, Shreya! Glad you’re enjoying its buildup so far (I’ve already released the previous 16 chapters if there were any you might have missed). Loving your poetic writing 😀 Looking forward to more!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. pvcann says:

    Wonderful read

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Paul.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. pvcann says:

      My pleasure

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Visionary says:

    Hello, Shreya! I commented on another recent(ish) piece of yours that you seemed, at the time, to be leaning in a more philosophical and less poetic direction. Not so with this one. The pacing and the repetition of this piece really drew me in. I can safely say that I’ve never read such a gripping or meaningful description of dripping faucets: “The drip echoes. It hangs suspended, waiting, blurs out into the next drip, waits again, each drip layering on top of the last one, blooming outwards, louder, louder, and the sound is not liquid anymore but a hard tangible thing, a glass sphere, crashing, crashing, crashing, I wake to screams.”

    The desperate, stream-of-consciousness narration is superb as well. It captures the feeling of inescapable, nagging inner turmoil excellently. Great work!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey! Almost didn’t recognize you there, with the new title. Visionary. I approve.

      I feel like I’m constantly attempting a balance between pretty words and meaning, and I fail each time. I’m not resentful of it, only I can’t decide which direction I ‘should’ be leaning towards.
      But anyway.

      Thank you! I’m so glad it ‘worked’. It’s so easy to mistake clumsy writing for desperation, and to be honest, I never know whether the things in my head translate on the page. What have you been up to?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Visionary says:

      In terms of desperation and clumsy writing, I could probably nitpick a few things about your piece, but the important thing is that I identified the emotion that you conveyed. Revision, if needed, can come later.

      I’m glad you recognized me! I would have introduced myself explicitly, but it seemed inappropriate to use your comments section to proclaim that I’m back in the blogging business. Anyway, I’ve been editing a narrative that began as a short story but grew into a novella, and also writing a sequel to that novella. (Perhaps it will all end up as one novella-who knows?) I’ve also been writing a new short story. With all of that, I’ve had to put my longer works aside for a while, though they continue to haunt my imagination.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Ahh good to be busy, isn’t it?
      My writing progress has stilled to almost nothing. For the life of me, I can’t bring myself to be excited about writing something new. I’ve been so… uninspired. You know, it’s not even being unable to write anything good that frightens me- it’s this complete lack of interest. I thought I’d be able to plough through the block by just writing, but there’s still nothing. I can push myself to get a few hundred words in today, tomorrow, but how long will I be able to drudge along?
      That scares me.

      Like

    4. Visionary says:

      I’ve had the same feeling of late. It’s not that I don’t have ideas, I just struggle to sit down and muster up the passion to actually write the stories that I want to write. And it freaks me out, because there isn’t anything else I’m really interested in.

      Unfortunately, I’m too new a writer to have much good advice for either of us, but I would recommend immersing yourself in art that you love, and coming up with ways to reimagine what you like in that art within the context of your own writing. It can be anything – an aesthetic, an emotion, a philosophy, and so on. My one word of caution would be to make sure that you’re not just copying someone else’s art; because, chances are, it won’t be particularly fulfilling or rewarding..

      It helps being somewhat distanced from the art, too. I love Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, but my own interests are pretty radically different from his. So while he used a fantastical backdrop to examine good and evil broadly, I tend to use a similar “canvas,” if you will, to work through my own thoughts on humanity, religion, or anything else.

      I hope some of that might help you. In the meantime, I’ve got to practice what I preach.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Yes! I think I’ve subconsciously started to do exactly what you’re saying here… I also think it helps to read something new, something so foreign, you’ll have to work to truly immerse yourself in it, and work harder to reproduce the same effect in your writing. It’s poetry for me now, a genre I’ve scorned for too long. I can feel myself get just a little more excited at the challenge, and it’s just a spark, but it’s there nonetheless.
      I truly have no idea what I’d do if I didn’t want to write anymore. What a terrible position to be in, relying on something so unpredictable, so cruel.
      Oh well. I suppose that’s passion for you. Good luck.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Nirant Gurav says:

    This was amazingly beautiful stuff mate ✔️💯

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Nirant! How have you been?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Nirant Gurav says:

      I’m all good , wabu ????

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I’m good. Exhausted. But good.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Nirant Gurav says:

      Okay okay
      Just Take care of yourself ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Shivam Gupta says:

    Morning done right 🤙with this beautiful stuff. Thankyou.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Shivam! This means so much to me<3

      Like

  8. Elber Oum says:

    Stuff that you don’t touch but rather chooses to touch you 🙈

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Elber. So glad it resonated<3

      Liked by 1 person

  9. T.S. Sky says:

    I love it. I’ll like to see your new site. I’m a new follower. My email is theresasky@yahoo.com.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. dahliaramone says:

    This is so beautifully written and a very compelling piece. I was riveted the entire time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Dahlia! Glad you enjoyed it<3

      Like

    1. Thank you, Mohmy.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Navin says:

    Very nicely written Shreya – so much depth.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Navin.

      Like

  12. Lion Prince says:

    Hi Shreya, what an evocative piece on struggle and resignation. It must have taken a lot of thought and patience, and heart. Please know that to me, your words sing.

    P.S: I’m looking forward to your new site, but I’m sure it’s a tiring process. Do take your time with it, and hope all is well with you!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There are so few writers on WordPress that I respect- not just love, but respect. You’ve been on the list ever since I read The Halfway Point. I’ve been returning to it whenever I’m low on inspiration- which is quite often these days (unfortunately, it doesn’t serve for anything but making me ridiculously jealous).
      Coming from you, praise kindles more joy than you could ever know. Thank you. You just made my day.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Lion Prince says:

      I feel the same way about you and your work, Shreya! Meaning flows through your words, so delicately and intensely at the same time – and to the reader, it seems effortless, but I can only imagine how much you must have laboured over your pieces to create such an effect. It’s hard, especially when inspiration runs low, but I believe the dream keeps us living 😀 And from one dreamer to the next, I think you’re doing a fantastic job. I hope you find the words you want to write for your next piece. Much love, Shreya!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. We are living our lives in nightmare, until one day we die and finally wake up..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That cold again…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Emotions are all we can feel in this world of matter, and even they are false…

      Liked by 3 people

    3. Maybe the very concept of ‘feeling’ is false, something we assume to assure ourselves of superiority over everything else…

      Liked by 2 people

  14. A. Perveen says:

    Hi Shreya! Hope you’re doing well. As always, beautifully written! Loved the imagery, part dream, part nightmare, a little too real yet mostly surreal, like those half-forgotten 3 AM dreams you suddenly wake up from, only to realize the sound that had woken you wasn’t a scream but the nagging chirping of a insomniac cricket. “Dreams surface with filters and edits. Mine come out gray scale.” Probably my favorite line – and there are many – but this one caught its hook somewhere deep inside. Keep up the good work and eagerly waiting for your new site. Hope its coming along well!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. “part dream, part nightmare, a little too real yet mostly surreal, like those half-forgotten 3 AM dreams you suddenly wake up from, only to realize the sound that had woken you wasn’t a scream but the nagging chirping of a insomniac cricket.”
      Ahh I loved this. Precisely what I was trying to get across. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and leave such a beautiful comment. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it!
      The new site is coming along, slower than I’d accounted for, but it’s going well. Better than I thought it would. At this point, I’m just trying to get it out before the year ends. :p

      Liked by 3 people

    2. A. Perveen says:

      I truly love reading you. Your voice is phenomenal! And oh yes, web development can be a pain. I work with developers a lot for UI/UX, it can be pretty overwhelming. If you need any help, do send out a word. Best of luck with your endeavors!

      Liked by 2 people

    3. That’s very kind of you. Will definitely let you know if I’m stuck. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Will add you to the list, Sean.<3

      Like

  15. Really beautiful writing! I had one job that was like a leaky faucet, slowly dripping my confidence out each day so they can get ahead. I decided to break the connection and find something else for my sanity’s sake. That’s the best part of water, it flows everywhere. Thanks for connecting on my blog! Like your work!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ahh good for you, Claire! Hope you’re doing better now. And thank you so much for taking the time to read and share this here. Truly means a lot<3

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Really lovely visual here!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. SO much is said in that last line…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Beautiful writing, Shreya! “I sleep wearing clothes I do not own, with a face I do not own” – for a moment, I thought you were referring to the Faceless Men in Game of Thrones. 😛 Your poems are getting darker and darker. 😦 But in a poetic manner! Am I making any sense?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I’d never thought of it that way- the faceless men, I mean. Are you a GoT person?
      Thank you! I’m finding that I can no longer control what I’m writing about. No matter where I start, I always end up in a place I didn’t even know I was thinking about. It’s intriguing, a sort a self-discovery journey while I write…

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Ah yes, I’m a GOT person.
      There’s no need to control yourself. That’s why you are writing – to let your emotions flow. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Shayra says:

    😮wow. What a beautiful story. Well crafted

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Shayra.

      Like

  20. Very haunting! I like the oneiric tone of the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Accipiter.<3

      Liked by 1 person

  21. aleegretsch says:

    I love this! Probably because I lucid dream so much that sometimes it gets really scary that I started having insomnia. It was grueling.

    Oh and great pictures, I absolutely love how there’s always one for each post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh that’s terrible. Hope you’re doing better now.
      Thank you! The pictures are all Unsplash, and I’m in love and just a little jealous. ;p

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I appreciate your writing, the emotion and visuals that you portray are amazing. I very much look forward to seeing your new website.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Shane. So glad you enjoyed this piece! ❤

      Like

  23. This is a well written piece and a joy to read, and the illustration is great. In this commentary you mention that the muse is oft times elusive. They say that the solution is discipline and that taking a challenge and writing anyway solves the problem. I’m not sue, but your talent is there and I’d expect that once you get started it just flows. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for this, Jane. I think the problem is not as much of getting the words to flow as it is being excited about it. The words may be there, but the passion is missing and that’s what scares me, more than anything else…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mathew.

      Like

  24. “Dreams surface with filters and edits. Mine come out grayscale.”

    I felt this.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Shane Lestan says:

    This is so beautifully written and I love the flow of it! I have so many thoughts on it and what it could mean, but it would take forever to share them here. You definitely have a way with words and painting a vivid image of something so abstract.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Shane! So glad you enjoyed it<3

      Like

  26. your write-ups are so relatable …
    nice work Shreya….
    i hope you also like my posts on my blog
    https://bloggingboy.home.blog/
    please tell how it was

    Like

  27. Pen. People. Places. Postcards. says:

    Amazing piece I love the flow of this and it’s tonality ❤
    So happy about your shifting domains! 🙂
    Where do I enter my email for post updates???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Oh, is the form not showing up? You can just send me your email in a reply to this comment, or, if you’re concerned about privacy, through the Contact page (https://themidnightember.wordpress.com/contact/) – this goes to my private email ID and I’ll add you to the list manually.

      Like

  28. Very descriptive and beautiful in a haunting way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Audrey!

      Like

  29. fipwmum says:

    How do I leave email address without whole world knowing?

    Like

    1. You can send it at this page: https://themidnightember.wordpress.com/contact/ and I’ll add you manually.
      Are you not seeing a form under the note?

      Like

    2. fipwmum says:

      No but have subscribed now with the link you gave me! Thanks

      Liked by 1 person

  30. such a craft well carved. the imagery is utterly intriguing i could almost here the droplets as they drip, drop and drip. you’re amazing! good job here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Delighted to hear you’re enjoying my work<3

      Liked by 1 person

  31. tara caribou says:

    I hope you’ll add me to your new site:
    raw.earth.ink@gmail.com
    I don’t know why your posts never show up in my reader so maybe (hopefully??) your new site will!! Much love to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh I have a feeling it’s because my posts are so spaced out: blink and you’ll miss me. Thank you for trusting me with your space! Will add you to the list.<3

      Liked by 1 person

    2. tara caribou says:

      I don’t know… but either way, I always look forward to more from you. You’re an amazing writer.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. sheizeardo says:

    Wow,,, beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Abhijit Ray says:

    Simply awesome,!

    Like

    1. Thank you, Abhijit!<3

      Like

    1. Thank you so much, Eugene. Will add you to the list.<3

      Like

  34. hjlabre says:

    Seriously, I read your work to learn how to write.

    Like

    1. That’s so sweet, Jon. Thank you<3

      Like

  35. I don’t think I breathed the entire time I was reading that. That was powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Rose. Glad you enjoyed it!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Will add you to the list! You should be getting a welcome email soon, so if you’re not seeing it, it’s probably caught in spam. Thank you for trusting me with your time and space<3

      Like

  36. thepensmight says:

    You have such a wonderful way with language. We all find it’s difficult to get exactly what we want. We simply create and sometimes we surprise ourselves and the world. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! So glad to hear you enjoyed it<3

      Liked by 1 person

  37. machiavellianstreak says:

    Wow, this is one of the best blog entries I’ve ever seen!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. This was great 🙂 you write wonderful prose/poetry, but as I was reading this I thought there is great scope in your writing for a narrative story – perhaps something intertwined and brimming with imagery. If you ever consider this I would be interested to read it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely something that’s on my list, but I also feel like stories on the whole require a largest investment, in all senses of the word, than prose and poetry, which are more vignettes than anything else. An investment that I’m not ready for, and not ready to give yet. Yet. When I am ready, you’ll be the first to know, Chris<3

      Liked by 1 person

  39. william says:

    wow fantastic piece of writing..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, William.

      Like

  40. equinoxio21 says:

    Compliments. That is a great text. Look forward to your future… thoughts. 🙂
    Cheers
    Brian

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha thank you, Brian!<3

      Like

    1. Thank you, Sam! Will add you to the list.<3

      Liked by 1 person

  41. tedstrutz says:

    I liked this. Maybe I shouldn’t have read right before going to sleep. I will probably be dreaming of water dripping, slowly.

    Like

    1. Haha thank you, Ted!<3

      Like

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