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Reckoning

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The faint wind blowing, the cars slowly drifting by in the parking lot, and the doors opening and closing all around me distracted me from tapping my foot in conjunction with the ticking of my watch. The sound was being drowned by the noise surrounding it. It was being grabbed by the neck, forced down into a sea of endless necessities, and kept down until the last morsel of air desperately crawled out of its lungs.

I could feel myself drowning. Drowning without structure, without routine. Drowning with nothing to keep me sane but my own insecurities and fear of retribution. Drowning in mistakes I could never take back. Drowning in the depth of darkness of a word I could barely define: reckoning.


The wooden bench was cold. I could feel the ice deep in its fibers, where I had expected warmth. Comfort. Instead I could only feel the rejection radiating off of the bench. I could feel it protesting against every atom of my existence, silently begging me to stand up. But I couldn’t hear the begging. The sounds around me were drowning it. But when can we ever hear the begging? The cries of those who truly cannot find their way. The cries of those who beg for security, peace, happiness, serenity. We, as people, can never hear the begging. Begging is drowning.

The second bench, adjacent to the one I was uncomfortably seated upon, was lonely. It begged for attention—someone to keep it warm. It was a summer day, and all I could feel was frost. Suffocation. I stared at the grounded trees dispersed throughout the parking lot. The luscious green leaves, comfortably hanging on familial branches, were simply drowned in layers upon layers of frost. I couldn’t quite understand the sight, feeling a bit callow. I grew apprehensive, and curled my right hand around the frozen arm of the wooden bench, begging me to remove my hand immediately. But I couldn’t hear it. Oh, how I wish I heard it.


A sullen man approached. It seemed, at first, that he was coming to speak with me, only to place himself on the adjacent bench. I dug my nails into the wooden arm of my bench, and felt a slight grumble formulate in the back of my throat. The man did the same. He slammed his eyelids shut, which was the only sound I could hear. The cars dissipated, the wind came to a screeching halt, and the begging and cries of humanity were thinned out into small sheets of silky whispers, fading out into the desolation of the future. The man’s eyelids remained closed as the sound reverberated into my ears, temporarily shattering my ear drums, and shattering all I had ever known. His eyelids flew open, generating magnificent gusts of wind. The winds forced the cars into motion and the air to swell and drown out everything else.

He reached for his phone, uncomfortably placed in his right pocket. The man, clearly left-handed, grew frustrated that he had always put his phone in his right pocket, regardless of the inconvenience it so often caused him. The man’s heartbeat began to rise, and his pulse created soft vibrations in the bench. I looked down at my watch and stared at the perfection of the intonation between the second-hand and the pulsing vibrations I felt in my bench.

He began to dial. The tone of the numbers bore a faint resemblance to a song I once knew. I tried to hum what I believed to be the tune of the song, but I soon realized I was horribly wrong. There was no such song. I lost focus as I stared at the faint white lines present on the man’s blazer. I figured he was some form of businessman returning after a long day of work. I figured he wanted to watch the sunset, which happened to be invisible from his seat on the bench.

I faintly heard an answer on his phone. It was surely a woman. I found myself attracted to her as I began to describe her in my head. Soft reddish-brown hair that slightly alternated in each season of the year, with green eyes that transformed to brown in the colder seasons. I imagined the sparking sensation of my fingertips as I ran them up and down her pale arm. My eyelids began to slide down over my view of the world. I slumped down, deeper in the frozen bench beneath me. The arm of the bench became her arm, and I comfortably placed my face against it, my prickly cheek against her velvety skin. My lips slightly brushed her arm, and I could feel warmth radiating from the bench. The frost on the leaves slowly melted, and sweet puckered water droplets released themselves from the tips of the leaves. My lips continued to wrap themselves onto her skin, and gently kiss her until the days of begging were no more.

“Annabelle,” the man flatly stated. My eyes opened. “Are you there?” he stoically asked into the small device he was holding.

I stared down at the arm of the bench. Wooden. Frozen. Begging. Drowning. Tears created a glossy view of the world around me, and I closed my eyelids once again, trying to envision what I had just seen. Hope. The future.

Reckoning.


My eyelids had squeezed the tears away, and they violently slid down my face, deeply carving scars into my skin. My tears dripped off of my face, and landed on the bench—transformed into frost. I glanced up at the trees. Layers upon layers upon layers of frost, covering the beautiful emerald underneath.

“Annabelle.”


For a moment, all I could hear was the man’s voice, drowning out everything else around me. That all changed. The crackling sound of frigidity pierced my ears, and I cupped my hands around them and held dearly to what I had known. More tears sloshed back and forth behind my eyelids, freezing before even meeting the world outside. The frozen tears stabbed at my eyes. I wasn’t sure if my eyelids were even open.

“Let me come home, Annabelle. Please. Let me come home. I’m begging you.” There was no emotion. It was as if he himself was frozen. It was as if….the bench had frozen him.

“Annabelle.”


The power of the wind dwindled like a coin teetering before flattening out and remaining frozen. I could see nothing. I could feel the frost, suffocating all life underneath. Ah, but underneath life had no choice. It was drowning, suffocating, dying.

I threw myself onto the ground, and grabbed the man’s feet.

“Please!” I shouted up at him, “Please, save me!”

“Annabelle, please let me come home. I’m begging you.” I pounded my fists down onto his smooth and polished shoes. My neck lost its ability to hold my head, and my cheek, carved every which way by my frozen tears, came down on his smooth shoe. I felt Annabelle’s skin against me once again. The warmth, the hope, the future.


The reckoning.

I felt comfort. I felt okay. I felt secure—stable. I could hear the ticking of my watch. All of the sounds around me were being drowned out by the subtle ticking of my watch.

“Annabelle, please let me come home. I’m begging you.”




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