Rat Race

Let’s rewind back to March 2012, my last semester in undergrad and when everyone was scavenging for a job. Stress was in the air and tension sank into everyone’s skin. If someone got a job and the other didn’t, then jealousy would linger into his or her veins.

Jealousy is the woman that chokes you until you can’t breath, and fills up your lungs with poison. She could be responsible for your demise as she comes in between you and your potential success. She preys on the egoistic, and waits for the weak to lose themselves. At this point, jealousy was inescapable.

“Why isn’t anyone being supportive?” I wondered.  

I watched everyone from my booth, uninterested to partake in their conversation as I sipped my coffee and questioned where my friend was.

Several thoughts ran into my mind as I waited.

“I’m bored, should I watch a show on Netflix until she shows up? Why is it still snowing? Ugh, I hate the snow. Stupid snow. I always slip in the snow. What would happen if I slid on my butt down the hill in the snow? No, I’ll get hurt. That’s an awful idea Shikha. This muffin is too sweet. Ugh, why is my coffee awful? This place is awful, but hey! The snow looks pretty. Where is she? I’m sooo bored. Oh my God, someone is approaching me. Please don’t talk to me. I can’t talk about school anymore or work or the future. Oh my god, I’ll just have a panic attack and pass out.  Should I act like I’m leaving? Yes, that sounds like a grea---“

“Hi Shikha. What’s up?”

“Hey! Long time no see. Nothing, I was just…hanging out…here….alone...eating my muffin. Same old.”

“Mind if I join you?”

Well, how am I supposed to say “no” now?

“Sure….”

“So, what’s up? Any plans after graduation?”

Why do you need to know?

“Hmmm, yes. Grad school. Studying. I love studying!” I swear, I tried not to sound sarcastic.

“That’s…. cool. So, you’re pretty much staying away from the rat race?”

“I didn’t know that I had to be part of it.”

“You know, everyone is stressed out about it. It’s crazy out there! Don’t you feel worried too? I mean, don’t you want to stay here? What are your plans, Shikha? Are you staying or leaving? Have you applied to jobs? You’re always very quiet about everything. Why are you so quiet?”

I don’t need to tell you anything, anything at all.

After a minute of chewing my muffin and chugging my mediocre coffee, I said, “Don’t worry, my plans are in the making like always. I am an incredible magician. On that note, I’m going to go find my friend. See you around and good luck!”

I really don’t need to be part of your miserable rat race.

I never looked back.