The knocking at the door had been sporadic for most of the summer, and I’d felt no need to worry about it. After all, I had kept myself occupied with sharpening my piano skills, the pursuit of multilingualism, and even blogging.
But today the knocking sounded incessantly and with an unprecedented intensity.
It seemed that the unrushed nature of summer, at once both freeing and frustrating, had begun to take its toll on me.
I rolled myself off the bed and stretched my entire body before starting towards the door. There was no hurry; we’d be spending quite a bit of time with each other.
I twisted the doorknob and opened the door to my bedroom.
“Hey there. You’re a bit early; school doesn’t start till next month.”
“I just show up when I’m called,” responded Boredom.
He was right. Boredom would never show up without my mental state warranting his presence.
The strange thing was that it was still summer vacation; he had never come before the start of school, when I began to dread the repetitive schedule.
“Come on in, Boris.” I’d known Boredom for a while, but calling him by his real name still somehow felt offensive.
“Stop calling me that already.”
Boris managed to saunter in the room with a sluggishness that exceeded my own. It was almost impressive.
He took a seat on the floor next to the Procrastination, or as I like to call her, Pat. You’d have to meet her to understand, but her demeanor mirrors that of Patrick Star.
She looked up from her game of Solitaire and greeted Boris warmly.
“Welcome back!” cried the plump scatterbrain. “Wanna play Phase Ten? This one never does anything with me,” she said as she pointed to her left.
“Eh, alright,” he replied noncommittally.
There’s nothing inherently unpleasant about Pat and Boris unless you’re the type of person who loathes being unproductive, which I unfortunately am. That loathing manifests itself in the person currently looking upon the card game with lips pursed and eyebrows furrowed: Criticism.
“Ugh, you let another one in?” she asked in disgust. “Are you just going to sit there watching them play cards? You never do anything!”
“Quit nagging, Christine,” said Pat as she patted her grumbling and rotund stomach.
“MY. NAME. IS. NOT. CHRISTINE.” Boredom and Criticism still hadn’t taken to the nicknames I gave them.
The two commenced arguing for the seventeenth time that day, and my head began to spin.
When the squabbling had reached a boiling point, Pat burst into tears.
“It’s never like this when Mo is here.”
Mo is Motivation, and he’s the one who shuts Pat up and gets things done. As such, Pat wasn’t his biggest fan, but there was no doubt she respected him more than Christine.
Up until the end of the school year, Mo had kept the two in check. His intensity and work ethic helped stave off the urge to procrastinate, and there was no need for criticism when things were running smoothly.
But Mo worked overtime during the school year. Truthfully, I probably wouldn’t have completed freshman year without him. He’d been badgering me to let him take the summer off, and I begrudgingly acquiesced. It never occurred to me that his three-month absence would result in so much pain. With Mo gone, Pat had gained weight and Christine had become stronger, both feeding off of too much free time and a lack of drive.
“So, what’s the deal?” asked Boris without looking up from his cards. “Why am I here before August?”
“Because she has even less willpower than last year,” snarked Christine, slowly pushing the tall stack of library books I hadn’t read in my direction. They were items on my to-do list that was growing by the day.
“No, that’s not it. It’s just that the minute I decide to do anything, Pat over here butts in.”
“Well, I don’t see you trying to stop me. And it’s not like you’d rather solve math problems than watch K-dramas all day.”
I sighed in a way that made me seem exasperated, but I just wasn’t in the mood to admit that she was right. It wasn’t impossible to keep Pat under control during the school year, but summer vacation meant goals without concrete deadlines. Without a strict schedule and the threat of my GPA falling, it seemed like everything could wait.
But as much as I found joy in binge-watching Korean dramas, there were inevitably times I wished to be productive. It was precisely Pat’s interference that led to more binge-watching and Boris’s arrival.
I was sprawled out on my bed listening to Christine’s constant nagging, when a sudden noise drew my attention. It had come from the door.
I stared at it, perplexed. Stress wasn’t due till the day before school starts.
But the is sound my beloved puppy, Sadie, pawing at my door and whining for attention. She’s eager to escape the house and go on a walk.
The other sounds of my house become audible. The low hum of a sitcom on TV, the bubbly laughter of my brother and father, and the sizzling of food on my mother’s pan.
Cooped up in my bedroom, it was easy to forget that a world existed outside of it.
Longing for the excitement beyond my bedroom walls, it occurred to me that I could just leave. After all, I wasn’t their prisoner; they were mine.
When I abruptly got up from the bed and walked toward the door, Pat, Boris, and Christine looked at each other confusedly.
“Hey, where are you off to?” inquired Pat.
“I’m taking Sadie for a walk.”