Stillness

By Patrick Tanswell

I am stillness.

In both form and mind, I remain motionless.

I am stillness.

Tink.

Didn’t see how much it was, sounded like 30 cents. Better than nothing.

Focus.

It’s hot today. Most days you can’t feel it so much. The marble statue costume airs out pretty well, but the windswept business man isn’t fairing so well. The wool is thicker to accommodate for the cashmere lining. I’m sweating. Luckily the shade of my snazzy hat covers up the sweat on my brow. About 3 minutes until I check the collection plate. I can only hope the sweat doesn’t slither its way down into my eye before that point.

I must have at least 2000 people walk past me every day, probably more. I should try to count one day. About 2-5% of them will leave some change behind, usually silver coins, golds if I’m lucky. On a bad day, I rake in about $50. On a good day, I can get as much as $400.

Stillness.

Can’t let my thoughts wander. Get back to the breathing. The meditation.

Stillness.

A conscious effort of nothingness, the perfect irony that my life clings to.

Tonk.

That was gold. What a generous fellow. I can’t shift my gaze at all, can't thank him. It’ll be about 1 minute until I can check my coins. It’s quite a nice feeling to let loose, shake up the joints and see the fruits of your labour. That’s the most rewarding part of this “Job”.

Tink

My leg wobbles slightly. It’s fine. At most 10-people noticed, they’ll be gone soon, not even a handful worth mention. Sometimes I think I like this “job” so much just because I get to be around people. I don’t really like interacting with people, I just like having them around… But you know people, if you have them around, you must talk to them, interact with them, pretend you’re like them. I just can’t do that...

Thoughts are drifting again…

Who even cares anymore. 10 years of this and meditation isn’t necessary any longer. Stillness is my second nature. I have 5 hours a day to think, but I never do. My mind is just empty. Nothing ever changes here. Every day is the same. 

Stillness.

Tink.

Time to check what I’ve got. I break my pose smoothly. I bend down to my small velvet lined tool box and set aside my wet clock. Hmm, 13-14-15. $15.50. That was probably about half an hour. Not too bad actually. I stash it in a pouch and return to my pose.

Stillness.

I think I’ll re-read A Christmas Carol tonight.

I wonder if things can change for me. Maybe one day, I’ll burst out of this statuesque pose and do something exciting. I'll take life by the neck and do something amazing, climb a building without a harness, Leap over a speeding car, jump off a bridge and live. These things… They don’t excite me, but I bet people would grin, I bet people would love it. They'd clap, smile and laugh. I’d look around and see their smiles, and I wouldn’t be able to help but smile and laugh along with them.

That’s not me though... is it?

What influence can a guy like me have on them? I see them walking by and all I can hear is white noise programming them to walk, shop, consume, work, eat, sleep, repeat. They’re like ants scuttling around in formation. What few smiles I detect throughout the day belong to young, skinny humans overcome with the novelty of life. It’ll fade along with their youth.

Stillness.

Come back to the breathing... Find your centre... In both form and mind, you are... Alive. A living being with a beating heart and flowing lungs, whose very existence defies:

Stillness.

Maybe it's time for things to change... Maybe it's time to say

Screw Stillness.


Author: Patrick Tanswell

Patrick Tanswell is a Second Year Comms student majoring in Creative Writing, and part of the UTSoc Publications Team. He enjoys Japanese culture, writing, and trying to come up with witty author tags.