Every morning, the alarm goes off and she cracked open her eyes and peered upon the grey ceilings. No light seeped through her windows. No breeze kissed her. There was no caress from a partner, it was just her. Every morning, she rose from her bed and shed the loose skin of her brighter life and proceeded to get ready. She watched her eggs cook, just the way she liked it with the yolk running and the white toasted. She ate her breakfast to the silence of her apartment and to the ruckus of her neighbors. Often times they would storm down the stairs, clearly late in order to make it in time. She found herself envying the quick life they had, but her thoughts wandered no more. After she finished her breakfast, she put her hair up, slipped into her jacket and walked out her door. After doing this routine for five years, she started to become consumed with darkness.
The only voice she hears would be her boss telling her to finish the assignment he assigned two days again or a co-worker asking her if she wanted to get lunch. She would just shake her head and look at her computer as if to indicate the same work that everyone was working on was bugging her too. The co-worker would shrug and walk away, leaving their perfume lingering in the air long enough so she could get a glimpse of their quick life and for a brief minute, she found herself strutting in a bright office with strikingly red heels, her radiant smile enticing everyone. She would shrug and her thoughts wandered no more. After being in the work force for five years, she started to become consumed with darkness, from her soul to her fingers.
When she gets home, she finds herself basked in an endless cloud of bleak darkness. She groped around in the darkness, searching for the light switch. “Oh there it is.” she muttered to herself as she slipped off her shoes. A chunk of dirt falls from her shoe and onto her spotless carpet, annoying her a little but she found herself laughing. She squatted down and peered at the pile of dirt and whispered, “How did you get in here?” Of course there was no response from the dirt, so she shook her head and thought of it no more.
The next morning, she woke up with a smile. Half of herself was confused, half of herself was indifferent, but there was a secret quarter of herself where she was elated. She had dreamt about her high school crush. Even though everyone in her high school liked him, he was actually her friend, but she never got around to telling him, but in her dream, she relived the moment when she told him and she saw a future of children running around her apartment and she was smiling so much, her cheeks were aching.
The only voice she heard now was her own. The dream still intrigued her and she wanted more. She found herself daydreaming during the day, emptily nodding to her boss’ remarks and blankly telling her co-worker that she’ll join them another time for lunch. She wondered there was another time that she felt this way, a little high on life.
When she got home, she found herself basked in darkness with only the neighbors downstairs keeping her company. “Wow, it’s so dark in here!” she said as she fumbled for the light and without realizing, she knocked over the vase of dead flowers. She stared at them for a while, watching the brown liquid run over the loose and brittle petals. She thought back to when she first received the flowers. They showed up at her doorstep and for a moment, she was elated that she may have a spontaneous secret admirer, but when she read the note, it was just from her friend who had left over flowers and wanted a better way to get rid of them. She stooped down to pick up the pieces and after she wiped away the liquid, she looked down at her hand and found that she cut herself. “How come I didn’t notice that?” she muttered as she rummaged through her drawers for a bandage. Upon realizing that she didn’t have any Band-Aids, she rushed out the door without her jacket and her hair slightly askew to the nearby drug store. At the checkout, she thought she recognized the cashier but she rushed out of the store too quickly to think about it but it lingered in the back of her head. She remembers that while he was helping her, he said her name not in a casual way, but like there was familiarity in it. When she got home, she put a Band-Aid over her cut and started to make dinner. Something else was bothering her. In the middle of cutting carrots, she looked up and saw that even though she had her lights on, her apartment emitted a sense of darkness. She put down her knife and rushed back to the nearby drug store. She walked into the Christmas aisle and put a couple of boxes of Christmas lights into her basket when a voice nearly startled her. “Jules? Julie? Is that you?” the clerk said. She turned and looked him, finally seeing him in a new light. “John?” she said, she could barely contain her smile. It spilled out and extended towards him and for the next hour, they stood in the Christmas aisle, catching up on the last five years and wondering why they never called each other. At the end of the conversation, they still hadn’t sufficiently caught up or rather, she wanted to know more about her friend John’s life and what had happened to him. They exchanged numbers and vowed to each other that they must contact each other. For the entire way back, all she could think about was the memories she and John had when they were students. She remembered the brief moment when she loved him but that quickly dissipated. She remembered when he took care of her when she fell ill with a fever and in her delirium, she remembered him confessing that he liked her but they never did anything about their mutual feelings except let it die out. She put her purchases in the living room, grumbling about the darkness the apartment carries and finished cooking her dinner. After eating her dinner, she started lighting up her apartment with strings of Christmas lights running from one corner to another. They lit up her flat like stars on a clear night sky and she laid down in her living room with tears filling up on her life and whispered to herself, “I will not let darkness consume me anymore.” Just as she was rising to get ready for bed, her phone started to ring. It was John.
Published by Alice C