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Morning Routine This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

I’m awake before I open my eyes, and even then I want to deny my consciousness. I want to fall back asleep and be taken away to place that isn’t here. There’s nothing wrong in particular with this place, but there isn’t anything particularly good about it either. As soon as I finally open my pale green eyes and my feet hit the cold wood, I want to cry out in utter agony. The warmth of my sheets is replaced by the everyday frigidness that consumes me everyday. I can’t crawl back into my bed because I have to do things that I couldn’t care less about.

Sometimes when I am brushing my hair or just adjusting my face I start to get a headache because I don’t want to look at myself in the mirror. I won’t look back into my eyes because a stranger will be staring back at me, and this scares me. So I just turn away and pull on my stiff jeans and old sweatshirt, push back the fears of the day to come and move forward.

I wander the rooms of this house, which I can’t call home, until I make it far enough to the breakfast table. My breakfast tastes bland and looks bland. I sit there crushing it in my mouth to swallow it. Swallowing food becomes harder and harder with every bite. I swallow a vitamin and try to choke back the tears along with the vitamin as much as I possibly can. I thank my mother for the breakfast with no reply.

I know that I can’t go out like this, because people might comment on my appearance. No one needs to know why I look like this, so I make my way back to the bathroom again. Walking over to the sink without looking at myself in the mirror is like walking on needles. I feel stiff, like the blood that used to be coursing through my veins suddenly stands still because it is frozen. I notice that this house is cold like a wind is constantly rushing through it. I smear makeup on my face and get out as fast as possible.

I sit there pulling on my boots, and memories of my past come rushing into my head. With every lace I tie, and every button I button a new reason to stay home “sick” appears. I still have a few minutes until I have to leave this room of mine, so I stand by the window. I roll up the blinds to see the well-known scene beyond the glass. There’s nothing but a grey sky, grey horses and barren trees. Before I leave the room, I glance back at the bed with blue sheets that seem to have grown dull. They no longer seem welcoming, but I would much rather be enveloped in them and dreaming of a good future that continuing out that door.

The wintry wind slaps me awake, and I plaster a smile on my face and enter the grey car. Grey. Everything is grey to me now. As the car holds at the end of the driveway, I see a bus approaching off in the distance. I could run away from all of this right now, but I’m not sure there’s a sun anywhere.

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