He was bored, he said, when they asked him about it later.
He was bored – that was what he always said and it never failed to infuriate everyone around him.
He couldn’t tell how it had got this way. All he’d ever wanted to do was do something worthwhile. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well”, he’d heard somewhere once. And taken it to heart for he was simply too bored to look for a less pithy and less clichéd work-ethic.
Sometimes the noblest of ideas are the most insidious; they gnawed away at the insides of his being, firing away occasional flashes of blinding bright light in which all the mediocrity of his world stood exposed, unveiled, unbothered. The independence of the mediocrity bothered him; how it managed to thrive in smug little cliques that sat around sipping tea, patting each other on the backs for self-nominated honours of mediocrity. He hated himself for being a part of them even though it was just so he could show them the beauty, the truth. He hated the feeling of the mediocrity he so hated climbing slowly up his legs in a heaving, seething, foul flow as he stood rooted to the spot. He hated the knowledge that what he thought he had still wasn’t enough to wake everyone up.
Sitting across her over cups of coffee and ice-cream her voice gradually faded away as his mind slipped into familiar grooves, familiar grudges and familiar rants. He saw her smile and her mute animation and hated himself for the fact that she would always be a part of the system, as firmly as he would always hate it. And that was probably for the best too; she certainly didn’t deserve to see the ugliness he saw everywhere, smell the decay everywhere.
He felt like jumping on to the table, and screaming and yelling, anything, absolutely anything to make someone around him look up and listen and learn. But he feared he would end up looking like a badly-etched character in a mime; and now he hated the fact that he needed approval from the system he so hated. And that he even expected approval for the changes he wanted from the very same system that he wanted to change.
He tried looking up at the face that still laughed and chattered, he tried to derive some reassurance from her visions of peace and friendship and beauty. But his eyes seemed to scrabble for a hold on her face and then slip away just as the voice went from being a dull roar in his ears to an audible mishmash of sounds for just a few seconds and then drifted away too. But he just smiled and swirled the last drops of dust-laden coffee at the bottom of the empty cup as he wished for this to be over and not over either.
It happened much later, as he sat in his room, alone at last and completely at the mercy of his thoughts that he had now come to fear so.
“F*****ck!!”, he yelled all of a sudden as he quickly blinked away the tears that simply didn’t care enough to flow and grant him the liberation that he so craved.
All was silent as he tried to wonder why he did that. A quiet impersonal silence that only comes from tables and chairs. Nobody heard him, save a couple of others who happened to be walking past his door at the time.
Some of them remembered to ask him about it later, though.
He was bored, he said.