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The ceiling came down: A prose poem

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OCTOBER 08, 2022

Content warning: Anxiety

It was a typical night when the ceiling came down.

I pull into my parking garage after a long day of work, excited to jump into bed and scroll on TikTok until I feel my brain go numb. The walk from my parking spot to the lobby is long; I dreaded it the entire ride home. But at the end of this ordeal, I have mind-numbing joy waiting for me. I have to keep this in mind.

One step. Okay, it’s not so bad. I can get through this.

Two steps. I hear a rumble somewhere in the distance. 

My mind jumps to a million different conclusions: earthquake, automobile collision, a meteor crash, an elephant escaped from the local zoo. But I’m too tired to look for the true culprit, so I decide it’s none of my business. I continue my trek.

Three steps. Everything starts to feel heavier.

I attempt to take my fourth step, but my mind gives out. 

Suddenly, the fucking ceiling starts to come down. 

I see it all in slow motion. At first I can’t even tell what is happening; it just feels like the world is shrinking. The space in front of me gets smaller and smaller. The air gets thicker, and I’m finding it hard to breathe. 

I forgot to call my mom today. I’m a bad daughter. 

A beam falls to the floor, just missing my head. 

I don’t think I really add anything to my friends’ lives. 

The stone pillars begin to crumble. 

I feel like everything’s futile — what’s the point of anything if we’re all doomed to grow up? 

I take another step, and my foot falls through the floor. 

I’m five steps away from the lobby door. Five impossible steps. I can hear the ceiling whisper to me, “you’re breaking down? I am too!”

A pipe bursts above me and showers me in dirty water. It feels like a baptism of some sort.

The garage lies in shambles before me, and I can see myself lying in the rubble — just another victim of the collapse. Just another victim of my insistence on zeroing in on the bad and never on the good.

Just another victim of my insistence on zeroing in on the bad and never on the good. 

I think I do this a lot. I expect to be happy but I never focus on the things that make me happy. I expect my ceiling to stay up but I provide it with absolutely no reason to.

There is a reason. There is so much good. 

There is so much good. 

The sun rose. That was good. I bought myself lemonade after class. That was great. The people I love made me laugh. That was wonderful. I have a warm bed waiting for me. This is good.

But the best part is, in fact, that the ceiling did not actually come down and I am not covered in sewage water and I’ve almost made it to my bed and mindless social media. This is fantastic. 

I take another step. Then another. Slowly, I make my way inside. 

It was a typical night when the ceiling came down.

It was a typical night when the ceiling went back up.

Contact Anoushka Singal at 


OCTOBER 09, 2022