Colin Todhunter: A Drop of Water
Departure: Quick, Call the Plumber!
am in a room, alone. I never leave. I can never leave. I suppose
that if I really wanted to then I could, but I am almost certain
that nothing exists outside of the room. To leave would be to consign
myself to oblivion - so I remain. What exists is better than what
I can move
the furniture around in the room and redecorate it, but in doing so
I merely seek to divert my attention from one constant in my life -
the drip, drip, drip of a leaking tap.
In the corner of the room is a metal washbasin into which the tap leaks.
It may be tucked away in the corner, but it somehow dominates the room.
The dripping cannot be stopped. If I attempt to either tighten or loosen
the tap there is no change - no gushing water and no stop to the leak.
The sound of the dripping haunts every waking hour. I may be able to
take my mind off it for an hour or two here and there, but it is never
far from my consciousness - my thoughts. I have even tried to catch
a drop of water and hold onto it, but it just drains through my fingers.
The futility of it all.
It is driving me insane. Each dripping sound seems louder than the previous
one, reverberating with increasing echo as it hits the sink. I have
been aware of it for as long as I can remember and it is becoming deafening.
And the dripping appears to increase in frequency, faster by the hour
and louder by the second.
But the strange thing is that I don't want it to stop. I want it to
last forever. If it did, I wouldn't care about it. It could carry on
dripping to its heart's delight. It would no longer be deafening and
would no longer be driving me insane. And it would not be dominating
almost every waiting hour. It would be mere background noise to my life
rather than the beat of it. But one day I know it will stop. It won't
As a child, I used to think that it would carry on forever and then
it did not bother me - I was hardly aware of it. But now, I wonder how
many drips are left. Could the next be the last? It is an old and fragile
tap with a mind all of its own. And anyhow, just how much water is left
in the tank?
When it does stop, I will leave the room. There will be no choice. I
will be forced into oblivion. Until that point I go on living with futility:
rearranging the furniture with increasing frenzy, trying to beat the
clock, and failing to hold on to each fragile drop. For any of us, departure
may be imminent.
© Colin Todhunter November 2003
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