He takes off his glasses and places them next to the cup of chamomile tea with almond milk sitting on the small table near him, lays his head back, and slowly closes his eyes.
Where does this sadness come from? Why is he sad today even though today is no different than yesterday, or the day before, or the week before them? What makes today so sad?
Maybe, maybe because all his days are the same? But isn’t that what he likes most? Same day, every day; no change, no disturbance, no surprises; just a chain of planned and repeated actions and activities.
He opens his eyes out of boredom of the plain darkness to stare at the equally boring plain, white ceiling, instead.
Something happened, something has changed. He can feel the damage, but he can’t figure out how or when it happened. How all those years have passed by while he is sitting on that chair and staring, he could not comprehend.
He has heard it in song lyrics and movie lines over and over again. “Life pass you by” it sounded dramatic and sad, but somewhat unrealistic, because in reality, life can’t just pass you by, you are always living it even if you don’t choose to, you are unconsciously still taking part.
However, that moment on the armchair, he couldn’t help but reflect on that expression. Life couldn’t possibly pass by you, but in his case, it felt so much like it. Life is passing, one day after the other, and he has no memory of it; because there is nothing there to memorize. He can’t find anything to talk about when he phones his parents every other day, because nothing really happens.
He wakes up at the same time every morning at 5, takes the same bus to the same job with the same routine; he says hi to Mr Jensen on his way to the elevator, up to the 3rd floor, and on the way to his desk he runs into Tina who tells him that Jessica from human resources asked about him 3 times so far, because as everyone knows, she has a huge crush on him and he, as always, nods with a faint smile and walks on his way to his desk to carry on the same series of tasks that he does every day until it’s lunch time, where he orders the same meal in the same restaurant across the building, then takes the same café au lait back to the office.
At the end of the day, and on his way out, he runs into Jessica, who he has been avoiding all day long, and manages to come up with a new and unrealistic excuse every time, and every time she buys it somehow and he manages to walk out to catch the bus barely in time where he occupies the same left-side window-seat, the third one from the back; puts on his headphones to listen to the same ‘random’ playlist on his iPod.
Arrives home to the same empty house he left in the morning. Cooks the same chicken with mushroom dish that he had for dinner the night before and the night before that and the one before them.
He then takes the same green cup of chamomile tea with almond milk to the big dark-blue armchair at the corner of his bedroom and there he, once again, sits and stares, blankly, at the darkness of the back of his eyelids or the white walls of his room, wondering where all this sadness has come from. And during his immense focus, it dawns on him that maybe he should change his ways, do something different, quit his dull job, or go out with Jessica and try his luck, or maybe he should just start with changing his dinner meal; ideas of change keep roaming around in mind. Then he eventually comes to the conclusion that he is really too sleepy to make a decision. And so he just walks to bed, promising himself that he would decide on a change tomorrow. Because what’s one more night?
Four years later, Mr Jensen is at his desk, skimming through the newspaper in the morning as he usually does; and, all of a sudden, he sits straight up in his chair and puts down the cup of black coffee that he barely got a chance to taste. Even though all he knew was his name, the news still got to him.
“A young man named Roman Jovanović was found dead in his apartment on Tuesday night, 02, January, 2024, after his next-door neighbor, Mrs Wilson, called the building manager to check on him when an awfully rotten-like smell started coming out of his apartment. Jovanović (35) lived alone in his rented apartment in Paterson, NJ, survived only by his parents who live in the suburbs of Bucharest, Romania. He worked as a copy editor for Scope Life, a local magazine. Reports state that he was found dead on his armchair in his bedroom with only a spoiled cup of chamomile tea with milk next to him; however, investigations has lead that the death was of natural causes and it most likely took place 48 hours earlier, on Sunday, new year’s eve.”