Footsteps

December 27, 2009
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I hear footsteps outside, making their way up to my front door. I know right away it’s the mailman. His footsteps are heavier than most, like he is trying to stomp out all his problems when he walks. His shoes slap the concrete steps, and the sound echoes throughout my cramped house. I frown at the ugly sound. I hear the rustle of papers before I open the door.

He smiles at me, and hands me five envelopes. He turns on his heel, his cheap shoes scraping the sidewalk as he makes his way back to his box-car. I try to laugh as it putters away.

Flipping through the envelopes, I keep my eye on the return addresses. I look for the blank one. United Bank of America, taxes, taxes, Marine Awareness, blank. My breath quickens as my eyes search the envelope. I turn it over, ripping it open. The sound hurts my ears, and the letter falls from my hands. I didn’t think it would hurt that much. I wish I hadn’t been so quick to think I had forgotten that sound. I hate it. I hate envelopes. I hate paper. I push the rest of the envelopes off of the table and pick up the dropped letter. I carefully open it; wincing each time it makes a sound. I read it carefully, a smile slowly forming on my ever-frowning face. It hurt.

I put the letter on the fridge with a magnet. He finally wrote back. It had been a month since his last message. He moved bases, but still can't tell me where he is. He misses me, he wants to come home, but still has another couple months before he is allowed to. He is sorry for putting me through this. Through what? A haunting fear that never leaves me, a stabbing pain every time I think about him, deep worry lines forever etched into my forehead, a newly found fear of the dark. That’s what.


Walking down Main Street with my hands in my pockets, I grimace. The sun is shining, but the air is cold as ice. Each gust of wind pierces me deeper and deeper. It’s Saturday, and I am simply wandering, meandering, roving, the streets, no purpose to follow through with anything. I sit on the nearest bench and close my eyes.

I hear the scuff of expensive business shoes, somebody in a hurry. The loud clacking of heels, someone with a goal. The squeak of running sneakers, somebody trying to drown anger issues. The drag of slippers, someone who has nowhere to go, and is just trying to get through the day, a lost soul, like me. I open my eyes, and see a homeless man wearily walking, approaching me. He holds out a cup and asks if I have any spare change. I dig through my pockets for my wallet, and pull out a long-lost fifty, sticking it in. His face brightens, and he smiles. He sits down next to me and asks me why I’m alone.

I don’t answer. He stares at me expectantly. I can’t answer. My throat closes up, and I take a deep breathe through my nose. He snorts, stands up, and grumbles something about me not being worth his time. I turn away, and close my eyes again.


I suppose I fell asleep, because I awoke from a nightmare. A one-eyed man stood over me, holding his bloody pocketknife, his eyes glinting with anticipation. I screamed, but my tongue was caught in my throat. Nothing seemed real. That was when I woke up suddenly, gasping for air. I am still on the same bench, but it’s twilight. I slept through the day.

I stand up, and glance around. I close my mouth tightly, clenching my jaw, and stride home, trying to add purpose to my walk. I am not afraid, I have no fear of the dark, darkness does not scare me, I’m going to be okay. I hope.


I sit in my rocking chair in my house-- my warm house, with all my lights on, and music playing softly. I am not thinking. I am merely existing. Until the phone rings.

I stand up, staying still for a moment as my dizziness fades. The phone rings again. I walk to it. I glance at the number, and my heart begins to beat loudly. I pick up the phone for the first time since I could remember, and murmur the best hello that I can.

The man on the other line begins to talk, but all I hear is that he’s gone. My vision fades. My ears begin to ring, and I can’t feel my arms. I drop the phone, but don’t hear it land. The ground beneath me begins to crumble and all I feel is my heartbeat speeding up. My body is shrinking, I feel like exploding. A faint pain in my head, but it’s blurry; everything’s blurry.


I open my eyes, but close them right away. Nothing is real. I can feel the ground beneath me. I’m laying on it. I open my mouth, and sputter when the taste of blood floods in. I see the phone next to me, and am suddenly drowning in my own blood. I can’t breathe, my throat closes up, and I feel tears soaking my cheeks and cascading into my own blood.

Nothing is real. I open my eyes again, choking on air. The throbbing in my head subsides, and my heart slows. I roll onto my stomach, pounding the ground with my fists. Nothing is real.

Blackness stains my vision, until I am fully blinded. I feel too weak to move. My breathing is shallow. Is this what death feels like?

I hear footsteps, and my door creaks. Someone is here. I can’t move, I can’t see. I can faintly hear them walking towards me. I hear a gasp. I hear my name. How do they know my name? As the Unknown moves towards me, I start to feel peaceful.

They were his footsteps. He’s here. I hear his voice. He’s calling me. He sounds worried. Why is he worried? He holds me, he cries. If only this could be real.





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LilyPond said...
Mar. 31, 2010 at 5:41 pm

This was good.

A little morbid.

But to each his own! Cheers.

 
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