nervous or anxious - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
All the reasons not to do this come flooding in, as if my body chemistry just sent them a blanket invitation. I feel the soft panic that can grow or fade depending on what I do next. It will fade if I back away, but then I have to do this all again another time. It will grow if I let these thoughts swirl into a vortex of stupidity, eating their own tail. Or I can breathe real slow, let the thoughts leak into the ether and be the real boss of me.
Finally the day I've dreading is here and I can't halt the dawn ebbing it's gradual way into daylight. Everything hinges on what I do at noon, and once done it can never be undone. I can't think straight this morning, I put my knife in the wrong pocket and then panicked when I couldn't find it. Today it could be the difference between walking away and a shallow grave behind the arena with all the other Class B's who failed the test. My hands spread like pale starfish around my standard-issue coffee cup, and they are cold too, resisting the warmth that struggles to seep into them. I must be quite gaunt, but I'll not be looking in the mirror today. I don't want to see my face, will it look like the faces of my friends who never came back? Or will it look like Jacob, who made it to Class A? All I can do is watch the colours of my dorm lift from their grey night-time hue into the blues and oranges of my rank.
I'm sitting on my doorstep in the warm breeze of an August morning, yet I'm shaking. If I'd stayed up all night it would have made no difference to my exhaustion. By the morning the bed sheets were in a knot and aside from a few fit-full half hours of vivid dreams I didn't sleep a wink. My brain is constantly searching for any sign that he's alright, like my cell phone seeking a signal when I move through the mountain passes. But like the phone he's out of range, unreachable. He will either walk over the brow of the hill before the sun is full in the sky or he will not. Then I will know. My stomach shifts uneasily and I notice that the hands that I am hugging myself with are pinching into my skin. I release my hands but then I can't figure out what to do with them, so instead they clasp and unclasp each other as if in constant need of touch and reassurance. But what they need is to be able to touch Marcus, to drink him in by running over his weathered skin.
She boiled the kettle for the fifth time that morning, already filled to the brim with tea and wired with caffeine, she busied herself getting the cups and teabags ready. Another quick glance at the luminous digital clock of the oven only seemed to confirm that time was slowing down, her stomach knotted up.
I turn down food but accept a glass of water which I take tiny sips of as we wait on the couch. I don't want to chew on my nails or lips, so I find myself gnawing on the inside of my cheek. It still hasn't healed from a few days ago. Soon the taste of blood fills my mouth.
Just stepping on the stage makes my breathing rapid and shallow. I can feel my pulse pounding in my temples. It's a relief to get to my chair, because between the heels and my legs shaking, I'm afraid I'll trip.
The inky darkness engulfs the frail light, diminishing all happiness and bliss that had risen with the sun. Now only silence lingers in the air. I shiver in the claustrophobic cubicle and wait for the signal, but a small sigh of anxiety leaps out of my mouth. Tersely, my eyes flicker to the buildings that just minutes ago had been a hum of excitement and exhilaration, but now seemed to wither with age.
Her nails were already bitten down to the quick. She nibbled at their frayed, form edges like a famished mouse.
He pushed the breakfast away. With butterflies in his stomach and his head buzzing with possibilities, there was no way on Earth he'd swallow a bite, let alone a whole plateful.
A muscle twitched involuntarily at the corner of his right eye, his mouth formed a rigid grimace. With arms folded tightly across his broad chest he tapped his foot furiously and all the while stared out of the grimy window. This fitfully sunny morning would either see the dawn of his new life or snap his dreams in two.
Like hail on a glass pane, the drumming of her fingers was as relentless as it was loud. Each click of the french polished nails on the table echoed the tumultuous thudding of her heart beat. Her face, rigid with tension, belied her youthfulness, she seemed to have aged a decade in the past few hours.
I've been so lost in constructing scenarios for the evening ahead that I'm surprised to see how far I've come. Already the cafe is in sight. There's nothing slick about it, no fancy fonts or white etching upon the glass. You could pick the whole thing up and send it back thirty years and it wouldn't look out of place. There aren't any tables with fancy umbrellas, just the uneven pavement baring the cracks of age. Despite the late hour I can still hear music from inside, the kind of rolling Jazz Louis always plays a little too loud for the neighbours liking. But I'm not here to sit at the bar and chat with him until the wee hours, I'm here to see David. He'll already be in there looking like he's been stood up, but he knew I'd be late, so he'll wait. Suddenly all my preparations flee my mind like scared children, my brain feels full of static like an old television set that's lost the signal. I stop. Part of me is screaming to turn around, but I know my future is in there...
On any other August evening I would have smiled at the couples filling the cafe sidewalk. I would have seen my future reflected in them, my hand being touched gently by a man who adored me and a shy smile playing on my lips. But not tonight. Tonight I tug at the new dress the store assistant swore looked so flattering. Now I wonder if he'll think it's too short. With each tug the front goes lower and so I stop. With no time to go home to change I'm just going to have to wing it. Those women at the tables look so casual, some aren't even wearing make-up. Maybe I should have done that - show him I'm so at ease in our relationship that I can show up in the jeans I wore all day. At least in the fading light the colours aren't so garish, so bold; because inside I just want to find a quiet place to hide. I pull out my phone, not to check for messages, but to flick through some photographs of him. There's something about these candid shots that sets my heart racing almost too fast...
The woman on the corner was dressed like any other urban Vancouverite. She was casual, but smartly dressed in jeans, a hipster jacket and a neck scarf. Her face was made up, but not over done and her long black hair was pulled back into a pony-tail. Yet somehow Mac was drawn to watch her. There was something in the way she held herself, as if unsure of where her limbs should be in order to appear naturally placed. Whereas the average person just walked along, barely aware of their surroundings, on autopilot just as much as those who commuted by car- her eyes moved quickly over everything in front, to the sides and ever few minutes behind also. In those brief moments she was looking his way he was struck by how protuberant her eyes were and the prominence of her cheekbones, gaunt really. And then there was the little brief case that dangled at her side, small but most certainly locked. Mac was debating whether to take a closer look or not when he caught a glint of silver at her wrist,
She snapped again. The toy cars were too noisy on the wooden floor, the lego had been too messy and now the play dough was ground into the rug by a chair leg. All the while it was 'Mommy, this' and Mommy, that,' why couldn't he just shut up and be quiet? She eyed the telephone with furious glances as if she could bully it into ringing, ringing and giving her news. Still, no news was good news, isn't that what everyone said?
Cold sweat glistened on his furrowed brow. With hands clasped tightly in front of his stomach he constantly fiddled with his knuckles, weaving his fingers in and out of each other.
Pacing up and down as if determined to wear out a thin trail in the carpet, he stared down at his own socked feet. His eyes were large and watery and as he paced he constantly punched one hand into the other.
Tom reached his hand up to the swelling on his neck and as he did so the ticking from the waiting room wall clock seemed to get louder, counting his life away. It had to be cancer, he knew it would be. He felt his insides grow warm in an unpleasant way and his stomach, though empty, writhed as if struggling with a rich meal. When the receptionist turned from her monitor to call "Thomas Bryant" he jumped. This was it, biopsy time.
The walk to the doctor's room seemed long and non-existent at the same time, almost like part of him wasn't really there. The doctor talked, the nurse passed the instrument and he braced for the pain. The doctor pressed gently with her fingers and inserted the device. Almost immediately she said "Oh!" Tom almost fainted, that must be bad. She continued "You have an abscess Mr Bryant, we'll just drain it and put you on a course of antibiotics. "
Tom hardly dared believe his ears, "An abscess? Not cancer?"
"No cancer. There's just a whole lot of pus in here, we'll flush and bandage before you go." Tom felt himself deflate like he was a balloon that had been lanced. His mind flooded with possibilities. With life he could do anything, go anywhere...
When the exam comes closer I'm all of a tingle. My body is reacting like there's a gorilla about to beat the crap out of me instead of being faced with a sheet of history questions. In the cool of the classroom I can ace this stuff, I know I can. I drink it in, horror though it is for the most part - who conquered who, who killed who, people who rose to power and abused it – fascinating stuff. But my body is preparing for a marathon instead of sitting still for a couple of hours. I'm going to sit on that plastic chair while my brain fights the urge to walk -no run like hell - out the door. I won't though, I'll sit and write the test, but when my mind is in full on freak-out mode it's hard recall the details.
As the allotted time draws near the steady summer heat becomes far less bearable. I want the air conditioning of the mall, not the filthy downtown sidewalk. I can't sit on the burning tarmac so the best I can do is prop myself up against the lamppost, letting my eyes move over the scars in the paintwork. I run my hand over the rough paint and feel my insides squirm in a way they haven't done since the last job interview I went to. I wonder what this Joel will be like, all he said was he was going my way and he was asking for fifty percent gas money. I don't know his age, what he drives or whether he likes the kind of music that makes my ears bleed. I can feel my bangs stick to the perspiration on my face, I must be as beaded as the dawn grass. My hand begins to shake in a way I can't control, all I can do is loop my thumbs into my jean shorts pocket and hope to look casual.
On the wall that has been crumbling these past twenty years, Toby sits, letting his eyes roam over the graffiti. With the finger of his right hand he feels the cracks and the pits made by so many seasons of hail and rain. Today, like the sidewalk weeds, they are dry. His left hand tightens involuntarily around the candy bars, making the wrappers crinkle. They had seemed like such a great idea in the store, something they had eaten when they were kids, back when they were just two spotty teens throwing aeroplanes at the back of class. What if in the last two decades she'd become someone else, prim and well-to-do? For all her antics, Gale was the smart one. What if she just looks at them like they're cheap candy and chocolate. Come to think of it they're kind of hard to chew and they make a mess. Before he can stow them behind the wall he hears her, "Toby! Is that Curly Wurly's?! Awesome!" It's Gale, an older version, but still in jeans, casual, smiling...
She clenches her fists tightly, until her nails dig into the palm of her hand, but she barely notices. The only thing she is really aware of, is the sound of her heart throbbing against the cage of her chest. It's not until she looks into the mirror, that she's aware she's been biting her lip so badly it's bleeding.
Mira rocked back and forth on the plastic chair, not noticing how small it was for her now. There was a time she fitted it perfectly, not anymore. When her eyes flitted to the small window to the examination room they left again just as quickly. How was an ordinary door so hard to look at? It made no sense. In there was a desk, a paper, a pencil. In two hours time her fate was sealed one way or the other. She choked down the rising bile and consciously flexed her hand, feeling at last the pain of her nails digging into her palm. When the school bell punctured the near silence she almost bit her tongue in two. She rose, oblivious to the bleach tinctured air and rested her fingers on the cool metal of the door handle.
Her perfectly manicured hand rested on the doorknob of the tattoo parlour, the peeling white paint clinging to her clothes as she rested on the sagging doorframe. She turned to her friend. Bad idea. One glance spoke years of hidden grief. Her smoky eyes began to glint like the aftermath of a lightning strike. Clouds of grey threatened to flood, but she took a shuddering breath and gathered her strength. Turning towards the door now, she twisted the doorknob and pushed with the points of her fingernails, allowing the rush of cold air to paint the usual mask on her face.
Behind her, the morning yawn of Autumn brought a single white feather spiralling to a rest in the golden blanket that covered the cobblestone path.