4.46am.

Your head tries (in vain) to find rest on the reading table of a hotel room, as you study for a not-so-low-stakes examination when you’d rather binge on YouTube videos of Daniel Caesar, H. E. R and Skepta tracks. You can’t tell what it is, but you know you are distracted. You keep trying to assimilate anyways, and somewhere in all this, there’s room to mull over what’s been going on around you lately.

Well, nothing major. Nothing actually. Just mails that you cant get around to following up on, texts unreplied, platforms left to the mercy of cobwebs and impending oblivion. You can’t put a grip on it, but you’re losing interest in everything, and everyone. You shun the potential networking events, you cancel “come over” invites twenty minutes after the “could you please show up? ” text, not caring if she had already started doing her makeup when you pulled the plug on the rendezvous. You stop the conversations when you’re one voice note away from soaked underpants, you hang up before the deal-sealing sentences, you back off when you are one text away from being allowed to feed your curiosity about the dimples on the small of her back.

It’s a bootcamp sort of location, and the prettiest girls in the room take welcoming glances at you…but you opt for bland sociability, unwilling to be anything remotely close to spontaneous. It’s not like you to pass up on the wit, or leave out the double entendres, but these days it’s all about handshakes and smiles that manage to mask the emptiness.

You stare at your phone. The call log is bereft of activity. Serah is probably less enthusiastic about pleasantly interrupting with the dials and cute texts. She’s probably tired of trying to get through to you, worn out from struggling to break the walls you’ve erected around you. Faith and Affection can only do so much. In time, it gets difficult trying to fix the pile of broken pieces, and they trudge away slowly, eyes tearful and drained of light.

Like Barbara, when she sent that long sad text, and swore to stick to best wishes.

Like Tochi, when she called you ‘scum ‘ and slammed hard on the block buttons.

Like Lois, who got tired of waiting for the playlist to switch up from the blues.

Like Mimi, who cut you in eighths with “your words are sweet, but I don’t believe you anymore.”

Like Ruth, whom you wouldn’t let her in on what was going on.

Marie got tired too, Yvonne saw to it that you were found in fragments beside your bedroom wall. Lana is almost passive now.

No psychologist can work you through this.

No prayers can shake this up.

You are out of excuses, full of contrition, armed with resolute desire, but picking the phone almost seems like drawing milk from a hen. You simply can’t, you think unsuccessfully of means to process a phone conversation. You cheat the dim light by staring at your reflection in the mirror, one that screams of exhaustion, and the possibility of being alone at your bedside in your final hours rings across the floors of your mind. You look around the room, an image of you stuffing your 40th birthday cake into your mouth in an apartment devoid of company briefly flashes, and you sigh once, and again, attempting to process what’s wrong with you.

You are Tired.

You have. Lost Interest. In Anything. And Anyone.