You get up and do the same thing you've done for thousands of days. You shivering, hopping ungracefully in the dark trying to put on your clothes without waking anyone else.
You haven't had had enough sleep. You never have enough sleep.
The cup of tea brings enough clarity to your mind to make you seem capable of driving.
The shadow of an unknown anxiety follows you, stalking your steps, perfectly in time. After a while you don't notice it lurking.
If you put the radio on you'd feel worse. Jabbering, braying voices declaring 'the thing is' or 'what we must do' or 'what people must realise' in sanctimonious tones. Nothing really, nothing said in passion or confusion or love or anything that could mean anything to you. Just nothing, the same nothing, arguing endlessly over nothing. Zero plus zero equals nothing.
You're driving, the sun is coming up. For a moment your mind wanders to the things you could do and the places you could go. To the tops of the hills, to the valleys, back home to the warmth of your bed. To the bosom of a great novel about crossing the sea, or flying to the moon.
You keep driving. It's autopilot, feelings switched off. If you are lucky you'll be early enough to enjoy a meaningless conversation with someone you'd never have befriended in any other circumstances and will never see once they or you leave. You'll exchange platitudes or empty gossip about petty work politics.
You'll spend the best part of your day doing things you don't believe in, which have nothing to do with love, passion or confusion or anything you could believe in. You'll be reminded of corporate mantras and you'll be doubly reminded of their emptiness.
You'll eat. The food will be rushed and there'll be more small talk. Ignorant half thought through observation and more gossip and empty politics. You'll work more, you'll think about how utterly wasteful things are and how the people you speak to who are in charge of you seem to reek of deliberate ignorance and a brusque bullish certainty or fearful compromise. You will struggle to respect them. You'll wonder how anyone maintains a semblance of aspiration.
You'll be released from the grind, spat out, thirsty, eyes aching. Onto darkening roads, dazzling headlights. You'll try and try to concentrate as if your life depends on it because your life does depend on it. You'll think again as the hills and the valleys disappear into the gloam of what you didn't do.
You'll think to yourself 'one day' but you'll know it's a lie. You'll wish that if you lie to yourself enough it would be come true but you'll know it won't. You'll switch on the radio and the same voices will drone, irritated, prim, slimy. You'll wonder if they believe their own lies. If they honestly think they are doing anything of any value.
You'll think of the evening and no sooner will it arrive but it will fold in on itself disappear before you've come to terms with it.
You'll sleep, too late and you'll get up again and live the same dream again.
The shadow will be there. Whispering to you. Telling you to remember that it's your fault you see the world like this. Telling you that you need to see things differently and learn to enjoy the world for what it is. That the hills aren't made to be climbed, the valley streams aren't for swimming, the moon is not for the likes of you.
You'll have to learn to believe that the corporation loves and values you with the tenderness of a human caress. To learn to put aside your love, passion and confusion in exchange for a softer, gentler kind of communication about the smaller things in life.
You can retune the radio, to something more reassuring. Something less provocative. You can search for the hero inside yourself and consider each day a glorious triumph, a new conquest in your own personal march towards some undefined yet almost tangible glory.
And always remember. Your feelings are entirely your fault. Look at the people around you. Grinning, smiling, laughing.
And the shadow will laugh and say 'it's all up to you how you feel, nothing else.'