The cursor blinks and blinks and blinks, and Dan stares at it. It’s… aggressive, really. A hard, black line, cutting through the clarity of the pixels. It doesn’t stop.
It doesn’t- stop.
Not unless Dan types something. Then it doesn’t blink for a while, it gives up on its fucking- passive-aggressive existence and just let’s him be.
Though, Dan isn’t exactly typing at the moment.
To make it stop, the blinking in his eyes, he looks away. He looks out the window, landscapes flying past. There’s trees, green and full, and grass slightly browned. The window is dirty with grime. It’s a bit disgusting, truly.
At least the cursor doesn’t also make a sound.
Earlier, Dan had his headphones on, Frank Ocean singing softly into his ears. He thought it’d be nice to write with Frank. Frank makes all things better, usually. Unfortunately, he didn’t really help with the writing. Now there’s just silence, and all the loudness that silence brings with it. Dan hears the train on the rails, the rhythmic chu-chuc of it, the gentle hum and the occasional squeaking. He thinks that this is more calming than Frank would be, although he thinks it quietly, lest he hear it.
When Dan set out to do this -- to write a book about his life -- he hadn’t thought it’d be quite as… unrelenting, as he finds it to be. The blinking cursor, it doesn’t let him be. Regardless of how many words he’s just written, after the next one, it’ll just be there again, blinking at him like a cow with big puppy eyes. Like a very aggressive cow who doesn’t care just how much he tries.
It doesn’t care that he has just poured his soul onto these pages yesterday. That he wrote down his deepest secrets onto it. It doesn’t fucking value it, it just sits there and blinks and he blinks back at it, and nothing happens.
Dan sighs. It feels heavy in his chest. This is frustrating to him. He’s a perfectionist and he doesn’t do well with the just-write-what-comes-to-mind advice. He’s also in need of attention and validation pretty much all the time and, it turns out, writing a book is different from a youtube video in that it takes fucking three billion ages until someone finally tells him what it meant to them.
On the seat across from him is Phil. Dan looks at him instead. He is just so pretty. Dan wants to kiss his stupid pretty face.
And Phil-- Phil has it easy. His mind conjures all types of things on an instant and Phil doesn’t second-guess himself then, he just rolls with it and sees what happens. He has like five movie scripts theoretically in his mind at all times.
Although, to be fair, Dan does know that Phil’s problem lies somewhere else-- it’s at taking these ideas seriously, and tying them together in a logical way that the masses actually understand. That’s a new thing for him, where Dan’s new thing is having to wait.
Phil is sleeping.
They’re on their way back from the new house. Dan can’t even count how often he’s taken that particular train ride in the past few months. There’s always something to see at the new build, something to supervise, something to decide. It’s slow in the way all building sites are slower than expected, and it’s much, much more work than they anticipated, even though they already anticipated a lot. It’s exhausting.
And yet, Dan likes to take this time to write. He always found trains to be calming. The relative anonymity of it; at least if there’s not too many passengers taking it. The ambiance noises. The landscapes passing by, that allow his mind to do just the same; conjure a thought, perceive it, and let it simply go. Like tacking it onto a tree he sees outside the window and just watching as it passes by. Train rides help his mind calm down in that mindfulness sort of way that his last therapist taught him.
Except for that fucking cursor. Dan feels like he is indeed full of minding that stupid thing.
He sighs again. There’s an announcement for the next stop, and Dan decides to stop fucking around and just-- write.
He writes about the train. He writes down what he sees, what he hears, what he feels. He writes about the light blue seats with darker squares and worn out patches from all the passengers who have traveled in this exact space. He writes about his own train journeys, far across the country, to a boy he felt like he knew from day one and liked so much that he traveled five hours and more. Phil sits across from him and slumps down further and further and Dan writes and he’s not quite sure he’ll use any of it, but it’s on the pages anyway.
It feels just good, typing his thoughts onto the paper. He’s a fast typer and he just loves this, letting his unconscious brain take over and move his fingers over the keys, hacking into them with just the right amount of pressure and at just the right places. It’s a certain kind of joy, watching himself do this thing that took much conscious effort at first be now so simple, and to witness himself laying his mind down onto the pages.
Dan writes what comes to his mind, just because he wants to. It’s not like the last chapter a well thought-out, properly structured essay on his views on activism. It’s not poetic in the way he described the way his first flat made him feel. It’s not quite as perfect, but it’s a wonder anyway, letting himself just be and flow in the same way he moves through the English countryside in this metal tube, him and his thoughts, carried through landscapes and weather and communities.
Dan thinks about the people then, all the ones in the little homes that he knows to be on this journey. He looks out the window and watches them for a little while. There’s people in there with their own words and their own joys and he doesn’t know them. And they don’t know that he’s here, carried through their neighborhood with castles in his mind and on the tips of his fingers.
Across from Dan, Phil stirs in his sleep, then blinks his eyes open slowly. His gaze finds Dan’s. He’s sleepy and ruffled and Dan shoves his socked feet under his thighs.
Phil grunts and stretches. He is warm on top of Dan’s feet, warm and safe.
“‘ve you been writing?”, he mumbles.
Dan looks down onto his laptop. He watches the thought pop up of it not being proper writing, of it not being perfect and structured and him not knowing whether he likes it-- he watches all the thoughts pop up to the blinking of the cursor, one after the other, and he watches them disappear, one after the other. Inside his chest, something relaxes.
“A little bit,” he says, and smiles.