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The Imperfect Day

A short prose piece I've stored since the uni days...

By Rosie J. SargentPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - February 2024
Charan Sai on Pexels

The volume on the TV can never be left on an odd number; always even. Doors have to be fully shut or wide open, and the blinds have to be down below past the window seal, but not quite sitting on the radiator. Everything has to be a certain way, if not–chaos. When the routine breaks, it’s as if I break. Every piece of me becomes riddled with anxiety accompanied by the pain of uncertainty; a loss of control beyond my reach.

All my books have to be presented in alphabetical order, journals for specific means, whiteboard cleaned and re-written on daily. My coffee cup each morning sits in the same position without fail, for I have left a ring on where I spilt some once. It is the only stain I will allow. My shoes must always be beside my bed, in case of a fire or in any state of emergency. I have to be prepared for everything and anything.

Ron Lach: Pexels

When a plug switch isn’t being used, turn it off. Nothing more insanely annoying is seeing a red sticker, empty and vacant from across the room. Calling out to me "turn me off, turn me off." I ask myself every time I come to encounter one if I should turn it off. There is one now in the room I am in, though would I ever have the courage to glance across the room unnoticed and turn off the switch? Will people think me crazy if I do so? Or perhaps I might find someone who also shares the annoyance of red? It drives me nuts. I can’t handle it–I can’t move away, for it now has my attention. It’s the only one in this big white room that is on, left on and abused by the neglected use of energy. Who pays for the bill? Will the plug eventually die from being left on and not being used, as if a car running all night and the battery dies from the overtime it’s had to put in? And if so, I am staring at a deceased plug. Who was the last to use it? Who was its murderer? That left it on to starve from its energy and die? I need to turn it off.

I can’t just get up. I don’t want to draw attention. But now I had spotted the semi-opened blinds. This is a disaster! Everything in this big white room clinging my attention to every detail possible. I can't stop–analysing every inch of the room, for checks that everything is well organised and in orderly fashion–and nothing was. What do I do? I can’t sit here for much longer. Biting the skin around my nails and tugging on the dead skin seemed to keep my heart at bay and my mind distracted. Chewing away at my flesh as if a hamster. I need to leave. The plug–it keeps holding my attention and then I go back to cannibalising myself. I literally wish this chaos would swallow me whole into the pits of structured hell.

At least the door is fully closed, ignoring the fact every couple of minutes, the door opens and someone walks in. Door goes again, only the person who entered didn’t shut the door properly. For goodness' sake, how could this be? Nothing is perfect or straight. The slightly wedged door is seeping in the noise from outside the room, chatter from passing people, smells of coffee and food sweep through. This is enough. First the switch, then the blinds, now the door. I can’t take this. I have already chewed as much as I can of my figures, to which point some of them have begun to bleed. I need something else to concentrate on, yet I result in finding out what else is wrong with the room. There’s no odd numbers. Thank goodness! Only even...

Until I noticed the date was all odd numbers–or most of them, anyway. Today was not my day, the imperfect day of barbaric uncertainty. Unknowing, I am not prepared and my heart knows it. It’s palpitating now, and I can’t make it stop. I need to leave the switch, the blinds, the door, this day. God save me. This is it. I have to leave, quick and swift.

The next day I returned to the big white room, the switch was off; the blinds were completely shut, as was the door, and the date; ah, even. Though I have brought the wrong journal. Fuck sake.


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Short StoryPsychological

About the Creator

Rosie J. Sargent

Hello, my lovelies! Welcome, I write everything from the very strange to the wonderful; daring and most certainly different. I am an avid coffee drinker and truth advocate.

Follow me on Twitter/X @rosiejsargent97

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (10)

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  • Asad Message4 months ago

    great insights

  • Alex H Mittelman 4 months ago

    I have OCD too! ❣️❤️

  • Kendall Defoe 4 months ago

    Please stay out of my head. 😉

  • Alyssa Nicole4 months ago

    You capture the craziness of OCD so well in this piece! It's so relatable. Congrats on the Top Story!

  • JBaz4 months ago

    First I seen/ heard of a red sticker on a wall plug. Interesting habits, not to sound cruel but I got a bit of a chuckle from this Congratulations

  • Babs Iverson4 months ago

    Spectacular & superbly written!!! ♥️♥️💕

  • Addison M4 months ago

    I love this line. "Today was not my day, the imperfect day of barbaric uncertainty." All too real. Well done!

  • L.C. Schäfer4 months ago

    I don't even have OCD and this made me feel completely on edge. That nail biting image is HORRIBLE, ie. perfect.

  • Dana Crandell4 months ago

    OCD at its finest. Well done!

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