The World Turns

The World Turns

The air inside my house is stifling, full of memories I can’t face. I yank open my front door and blink at the harsh brightness of day. A man walking his dog waves politely. I tug at the hem of my shirt, suddenly conscious that I’m still in my pajamas and not wearing a bra. I hold up a hand in response before crossing my arms over my chest. I’m about to turn back inside when a familiar voice asks how I’m doing today.

I take a steadying breath before turning to face my kindly neighbor. “I’m fine. How are you?” I respond, because that is the only acceptable answer, even when your world is falling apart. 

I can’t cry on this elderly woman’s shoulder in the middle of the street like I feel like doing, so I am just fine…with a smile on top. Of course, I have people in my life whose shoulders I could cry on, and who care about my problems, but still, so many people just didn’t. I wish everyone would care. Everyone would be changed. That instead of the world just moving on despite my tragedy, everything would just STOP.

There is a sudden stillness in the air and the sounds of birds and insects cease. I look at my neighbor, and she is frozen, mouth open as if she was about to tell me just how good her day was. My heart beats faster. I make my way out of the neighborhood, nearly at a run. 

On the main street, cars are stopped even when the light is green. A child on her bicycle doesn’t fall over despite that she is not moving. No one blinks; no one breathes. 

I didn’t know my magic could do this, but I am glad. Now I can grieve properly without people laughing and enjoying their lives like my whole world hadn’t changed.

“I am NOT fine!” I scream into the silence. I scream it again at the top of my lungs. Tears fall down my face, now that there is no need to hold them back. “I am not fine,” I gasp out between sobs. 

I am seized by anger. I want to be fine, better than fine. I want to be happy like all these other frozen people. I want to be oblivious to pain and grief, going about my ordinary day.

I kick pebbles on the side of the road. I bend down and grab a handful and hurl them through the air, heedless of their path. I pick up a rock and march down the street. Seeing a flower pot, I shatter it with the stone. I grab more rocks, destroying the pretty little perfect yards lining the street. 

I tramp further, aimlessly taking turns, lashing out at whatever objects offend me with their beauty. I see a group of friends stuck mid-laugh, and a rage bubbles up within me. A sudden thought occurs to me: I could hurt them, cause pain like that which I feel. Just as quickly, I reject the thought, nauseated. 

I shake my head. What has gotten into me? This anger and destruction is so unlike me. I drop to the ground on the soft grass, my head hanging. None of this has made me feel better. She is still gone. Slow tears fall to the earth. Exhausted, I lay in the grass, drifting off to sleep. 

When I wake, the world is moving again. I sigh wearily, dragging myself up to walk home. A dragonfly flits into my vision, wings a blur as it hovers in front of me. A soft smile pulls at my mouth. Dragonflies were her favorite. 

I reach out my hand and conjure bushes of meadow sage, their bright purple flowers forming in jutting stalks from the green leaves. Dragonflies love them, and this one darts around the blooms. As I watch the delicate creature, I decide that it’s good for life to keep moving. This world can be beautiful if you try.

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Thanks so much for reading!

-Clever & WTF

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