The Next Day


This morning, I watched the sunrise from my room. Each hue of orange and pink melted together harmoniously, kissing the infinite darkness. It reminded me of a broadway show; an opening performance for the sun as it climbed just above the horizon.


Once the silence became too eerie for my liking, I left my windowsill, striding out of my door and past an arching shrub of honeysuckle growing through my neighbor’s fence. Overhearing fragments of people’s conversation, I wandered aimlessly through the streets, catching whiffs of food I’ve yet to try and gazing into the twinkling eyes of possible lovers. The sun’s gleam reflecting off of a coin caught my eye, and I recognized the sound of rushing water that had amazed me many years ago. My mother had once held my squirming body over the same marble fountain as I threw in a penny and made a wish. I don’t remember what whimsical thing I wished for, but I know I had not wished for this. I would not wish my fate upon my worst enemy.


I arrived at a cafe and took a seat next to an old man. His weathered face told me he had been on an incredible adventure so. His eye lines were a collection of fond memories, the wrinkles in his forehead an illustration of his pain and loss. Despite the hardness of his expression, he whittled away at a wooden figure with tenderness and admiration. Perhaps the creation he held between steady fingertips was a gift for the one he loved, a wife or grandchild. I understood that I would never know his story, for I didn’t have the voice to ask.


My feet carried me forward as I bolted through crowds of people effortlessly, sprinting along the highway. Cars sped by unaware of my presence, their occupants impatient with purpose; they had found something worth the trouble of traffic. I, however, was not in a race against the clock, for the rising and setting of the sun were meaningless to me. I felt not the beating of my heart, aching of my feet, or the sharp intakes of breath that had usually accompanied my asthmatic running. Instead, my source of discontent was the lack thereof.


I had reached my final destination, my feet making no footprints in the mud as I regrettably joined the crowd before me. Here was a dreary ambience, where even a sea of umbrellas could not hamper the raindrops which trekked down my mother’s cheeks. I sat next to her, and when I reached out to comfort her, my hand met still air.


I walked down the aisle slowly, the way I had imagined I would on the night of my wedding, and reached a black casket. I glared at my corpse with exasperation, and shut my eyes tightly, hoping I would wake up back where I belonged. After the sunset that night, I stared into the gloaming and realized I would be there forever.






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