And this is it. A white computer screen and a blinking cursor in the middle-no, fifty minutes past the middle-of the night. The sky is black and the blinds are down so you don't know if there are any stars. You don't care if there are any stars. Nature is beyond you. Night is beyond you. Very little can reach you.

The only feeling to be had is the burn. A quiet burn. A slow burn. It's the flame of thought and intelligence and inspiration sitting like crackling embers in the hollows of your soul. It won't be stifled by all the food you've been eating these past few days, won't rest with the unusual amounts of sleep you've gotten these past few nights.

It's only purpose is to sit, unreachable, and burn. Burn and burn while you sit there at a laptop, jaw down like an empty-headed little kid in front of the season premiere of a Saturday morning cartoon. You feel stupid. And you feel this way because you know that you are smart. You could wear nice shoes and tie your hair back and walk across a college courtyard with a book under your arm and a no. 2 pencil behind your ear.

You are that image. You should be that image. But you've denied yourself this because the world is cold and the things in your room are empty and meaningless. Your parents hate each other and you don't get too much more than "it's your life" from them. Left or right, or nowhere at all. Nothing can help you but you.

And here you are, in the middle of the night. Your mother is asleep because she never lets any problem follow her within ten feet of her pillow. Your father is watching TV because he knows that he responds well to distraction. And you? You are thinking. You are always thinking. You consider what a casual asshole you were in high school, consider the monotony that you complained about as you sit and wish for it. Wish for your crappy job back. Wish for your crappy school schedule back, even though the floors in the hallway were dirty.

This could be it. You're momentarily out of fuel and you could easily sit in the middle of the road here forever. You've seen it happen to others, and by them you've sworn that you would not turn twenty years old and still be living with your mother and father. But you'll be nineteen next month, and you're not even in school because your college roommate was too sloppy and the campus was too far from home. You're back in your bedroom, but soon you will not be living with your parents. It will be just one parent; Your mother is leaving in a week or two, and she isn't coming back.

And still it burns, far and deep inside of you. A talent you know you have. A thing you know you could use. It's something that was not given to the slackers that share your traits. You can write. You can make a blank page into a painting, an image, a thing to make other minds think and consider. Just ink and paper; You can *do* something with that. And if you stay where you are, nobody else will ever find out.