I want to visit the sea.
To feel the crisp air against my skin.
I want to hear the gulls.
To listen to them flapping overhead and cawing their incessant songs.
I want to grasp the sand.
To sift through the granules with my worried fingers.
I want to visit the sea.
I want to visit and see.
I want to light a candle. To ignite the flame and watch it glow, illuminating the darkness around it.
I want to reach out and feel its warmth flittering across my hand. Then to pull the wool sheet around my shoulders and sit and watch the flickering orange-yellow-red.
I want to be reminded of home. Of a time before all the cold and darkness. Of a hearth with a nice, big, and warm fire. The big chair that I would sit in and read books in just a couple feet away from the fireplace.
I want that safety. I want that feeling that I’ve seemingly forgotten. It’s like an old friend whose face I can’t seem to remember.
I want this small candle to bring back all these memories. To brighten my day. Unfortunately, it won’t.
I have no matches.
It’s terrible. It’s horrific. It’s every adjective that describes a bad situation. It’s not what we expected, but it was what we knew was possible. After all, it’s not the first time it’s happened. But it definitely hurts as much.
I was sitting in the quiet waiting room, waiting. What was I waiting for? Something. Anything. News that it was all a mistake. Good news. Something other than the inevitable. I needed to hear that everything was okay. That my wife was okay and the baby was healthy.
I only got half of my wish. Yes, my wife was okay, but the baby was everything but. In fact, there was no baby. It had started developing fine, but somewhere along the way there were complications and the baby stopped developing. Just like before. It was a deja vu I didn’t want to experience.
When the doctor came to tell me, I broke down in tears. I needed to see my wife. I needed to know she was okay because I knew that she wasn’t. I wasn’t.
The doctor made me wait though. I didn’t see her until an hour later when she was discharged. When I saw her, I just hugged her. My arms would protect her. I needed her to know that I was there.
Because I was. And I would fix this.
It’s cold. The sky is netted with clouds, grey and looming. My breath puffs out as a white wisp with each exhalation. I’ve got my coat on and plenty of layers to keep my body warm, but my face is unprotected from the harsh cold.
Under my arm is a box of things: papers, pictures, a bracelet, a necklace, etc. I open the door to my car and I set them down gently in the passenger seat.
Sliding into the drivers seat, I turn on the car and pull out of the driveway. The drive isn’t too long and it gives me time to reflect. I do. This is really hard for me, but it is necessary.
I reach my destination and pull into a parking space. There is a forest before me, large and verdant. It takes me a while before I turn off the car and head into the woods, box in hand.
I walk for about five minutes before reaching a clearing. It’s wide and open and in the center is a hole in the ground. In it are ashes and half-burnt papers that someone had left there. I set my box in the hole and dig into my pocket for some matches.
I take one and light it. The small fire flickers a bit and then it goes out. I take out another, light it, and throw it into the hole.
A corner of the box catches fire. I watch as the fire slowly begins to engulf the box. I feel nothing.
I sit down and watch as the the fire burns everything within the box. I feel nothing.
After a while the fire dies out and I look at the burnt remains. Only charred remnants of the items remain. I feel nothing.
I unfold a slip of paper that I’d been holding. It’s a picture of us. We are smiling. I light a match and bring the fire to the corner of the picture. It begins to burn and shrivel into itself. I throw it into the hole and watch as it burns. I feel relief.
That was everything. That was us. No more.
When the fire dies out, I fill the hole with dirt and leave.
I smile. For the first time in a long while.
Dusk covers a dusty room stuck out of time. Knick knacks and antiques cover the shelves and the walls. A clock glued to the wall ticks endlessly, never stopping.
There are three tables taking up most of the open space of the room. Plastic is draped over them along with a thick layer of dust. A doily lays torn on the floor.
A shattered mirror hangs on the wall opposite the clock. The clock is reflected in the shattered mirror not ticking. Beneath the mirror is a mantle. On the mantle is the faded picture of a little chestnut haired girl in a light pink dress holding a once bright red balloon. She doesn’t smile.
Throughout the room is the stench of cigarettes. It sticks itself to every surface it can. There is a haziness that can be seen whenever the sun filters in through the only window in the room.
The room remains untouched. It is never disturbed. It is at peace and at peace it will stay.
There is a man on a mountain. He watches the world change from his safe, tall mountain. No one ever bothers him. And he never bothers any one. He isn’t even noticed. Those that once knew him have forgotten him.
He never leaves his spot on the mountain. The world is a scary place, he thinks. What if they dont like him. What if he doesn’t fit in? This he ponders while sitting and watching.
One day a group of people pass close enough to his spot on the mountain and he overhears them laughing about something. He shifts ever so slightly to see them.
There they are. So jovial with bright smiles on their faces. He wants to call out and say hello and be included in their conversation but he doesn’t remember how. He has sat upon his mountain for so long without contact that he’s forgotten how to say hello.
They pass and loneliness creeps over him like a cold shadow.
“I’m tired of staying on this mountain!” he exclaims and starts as if to move, but simply readjusts his mat. “I’ll move tomorrow. It’s too late in the day to go today.”
Tomorrow comes. He doesn’t move. And the cycle continues.
You’ve got to take a leap from your comfort zone to enjoy life fully. Normality is boring. Anyone’s life can be a thrilling adventure, you’ve just got to get up from your mat and journey off into the unknown.
There’s a boy that sits on the beach and watches the waves roll in and out. He mulls over his life as he digs his fingers into the sand. The grit creeping into his nails irritates him. The blue sky above is reflected beautifully off of the shifting waves of the ocean. A gull flies over head and makes a sound.
The boy shifts uncomfortably in his seat. A class room has come up around him. He is in a desk and there is a woman at the front of the room speaking loudly about grammar. The clock on the wall seems to tick out a beat that echoes through the tiny classroom. Somewhere a baby cries.
Class room fades and hospital room forms. An exhausted woman lays on one of the beds. The boy, now a man, has her hand in his. They knew this day would come. They anticipated it. It’s a she. The man turns and smiles at the woman, tears streaming from both their eyes.
Her hand is replaced by a smaller one. One that is pulling the man through a large field. He runs along with the young chestnut haired girl running. The grass is tall enough to reach the hem of her light blue dress. They laugh and fall tumble through the tall grass.
The scenery fades and the man’s hand is left empty. He finds himself in a bed. Next to him is the woman. He turns onto his side and brushes a hand against her skin. Her eyes open and she tries to smile but there’s a hint of frowning. The room is silent.
The bedroom vanishes. The man stands, dressed in black, at a gravestone. A young woman comes up and places a hand on his back. They embrace. The man is weathered by old age. His hair, once a dark brown, now a light grey. The young woman lets go and he falls back.
There is that hospital bed to catch him. He is connected to a variety of tubes. No one is in the room but the man. Left alone but content with the inner musings of his mind. At times like these, he likes to reflect on his life. His wife, his daughter, that beach where he pondered what his life would be like. Everything was so much worse than he could have imagined, but he would not change a single moment.
The man watched as he floated slowly away from his limp body. It was so frail and easily broken. He smiles.
And in that moment all faded.
Hands grab at him as he makes his way through the wild crowd. They all dancing crazily to the upbeat music blaring through large speakers. Not a care in the world, their sweaty bodies begin to become more difficult to differentiate.
He continues to push through. The lights flash and flicker around him in a multitude of colours. His mind is a fog; his surroundings are hazy. In his hand is a small slip of paper, which acted as a ticket to get into the building. At least that’s what he was told.
He breaks through the last of the crowd and falls to the ground. A blast as his skull smacks the floor. Laughter escapes his mouth as he grabs for the closest thing to him: a pair of legs. Female, to be exact. So soft yet so strong.
He makes clings to them with all he’s got. Afraid of letting go. A cry for help escapes his lips followed by laughter. The female helps him up and leads him towards slim black couches nearby.
The music doesn’t seem so loud when he sits down. He runs his hands through his hair and then reaches for a glass on the table. So much for resolutions.> he thinks and throws his head back allowing whatever was in the cup to slide down his throat. He throws the cup into the crowd and shakes his head. Poison. Alcohol. Same thing.
He notices the female to his left, the one that had assisted him, watching him intently. He smiles and then the countdown begins. 10.
9. 8. With each second, he loses a bit of consciousness. 7. 6. Why did he even decide to come to the grimy club in the first place. 5. 4. He could have stayed home and had a peaceful lead into the new year. He could have invited his friends over. what friends? 3. The color drains from around him. Black and white fills in where the color had been. 2. He could have been safe and avoided this- this making a fool of himself, but it’s the new year, might as well introduce it with open arms… So much for change. 1.
HAPPY NEW YEARS!
He blacks out. Welcome new year.
A warm aroma filled my nostrils and set them ablaze with passion. My senses were on edge. I was giddy with excitement. I remained still and let the heat wash over my body.
My mind began working towards figuring out where and what that scintillating scent was. I needed to be closer to it; needed to be wrapped up in that smell and partake in it’s delight. In me was released a monster that would not stop until the source of the aroma was found.
After some deduction, I figured it was probably coming from the kitchen. I pulled back my hefty sheets and placed my bare feet on the cold wooden floor. A shiver shot through me and my desire faltered.
Did I want to go out, away from my comfortable shelter of warmth, and satiate this yearning hunger brought on by one tiny whiff? The scent seemed shrink the longer I stayed amongst the coziness of my bed. I needed to make a decision.
Without a second thought, I stepped to the floor and, on tip-toes, sauntered out of the room and into the hall. It was empty. Only the aroma and I were in that apartment. No distractions.
Slowly, I made my way into the kitchen and found the source of the smell: A short stack of the most perfect pancakes I had ever seen. They were fluffy and a lovely golden brown. A slice of butter that was partially melted sat atop the stack. They were accompanied by a small note folded and tucked underneath the ceramic plate.
I pulled it out and read the paper. On it was written one word.
It was morning. The bluest morning I’d ever seen. There were birds flitting about from tree to tree and the sound of cars honking several streets below filled the empty apartment.
The white walls echoed the silence in the room. The wooden floors, clean and full of nothing, reflected the vacancy of the room. I stood in the center taking everything in; one last look before I left the home I had grown to love.
The sunlight streamed in through the large blindless windows. Only one box was left. It was next to the door. In it was everything I dubbed important: my journal, my bible, a little trinket my mom had given me before her passing. In it was everything that I needed to remind me that I could do this. I could leave. I had to leave.
I didn’t want to leave. There were so many memories in this little apartment. That time Samantha chipped her tooth at my one (and only) cocktail party. Or there was that time Tomas stayed with me for a month, or should I say his entire family of six stayed with me for an entire month. That was fun and exhausting.
So many memories and there I was leaving them behind. I had no choice. When life called, I answered and this time it told me to leave. Actually it was more like I got a job across the country and my lease was up. So I answered and now I was leaving.
I was leaving. I grabbed the box by the door, turned and looked at the room one last time, and then left. Just like that. Ready to welcome in a new chapter of my life.
Hello, how do you do?