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Short story: 3:46 a.m.

"Is there no way out of the mind?" -Sylvia Plath. Licensed for reuse by Pinterest.

I’m patiently waiting in silence, listening intently for the universe to return my existential questions. It’s early Monday morning, and just outside the window pane sits a cloud heavy sky with disastrous hues of grey and violet, and I’m in pain. It’s pointless and a little obscure, sitting in a dark room, my foot tapping restlessly on the hardwood floor and my pen, black of course, tapping against the piles of misplaced and unsent letters to you. But now that you’re gone, what was the point of existing if only half of myself was living.

I can still feel you breathing. This room was just as much yours, as it is mine. The warmth of the pale, white sheets; I can smell the frigid pine scent you left. I worry these feelings will be too much, over extraneous and undoubtedly the death of me. What worries me the most is the loss of memory– specifically the ones we created together. I can’t fathom how misplaced I feel. I am within and without, both simultaneously breathing and shattering. My heart is in so many different places that no amount of happy pills can contribute to the death inside me. You left this gaping hole inside me, an every extending blackness with no end in sight.

For me, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

For me, there is only the mere existence of what you chose to leave behind: your breath on my lips, the few shirts you left behind, and the pictures and messages which are all non-existent objects that could never possess the life you breathed into me.

The pen slips from my grip and a streak of ink dribbles across the page of college-ruled paper. I curse under my breath and grunt, rubbing my hands into my eyes, my still growing hair falling into my face. “This was not a love story,” I carefully whisper, my voice shaky and my eyes swelling with tears that beat restlessly between my lashes.

And suddenly, without careful notice, there’s a soft knock at my bedroom door.

I didn’t realize anybody was still home.

There’s silence.

I wait for them to leave.

But the lingering is what bothers me. “What is it,” I call out, turning my slouched body over in my seat. There is no response but another knock. I look anxiously around my room, something in close proximity to chuck at the door. Mother knows I don’t have an appetite. I find a shirt with a cheap graphic from Target that wouldn’t do much to ward off my mother or sister for that matter.

I trudge over to the door, the floorboards underneath me groan, and turn the brass knob to find an empty hallway. I peek my head out far enough outside the comfort of my room. There was nobody but me.

Utter silence drenched the two-story home I lived in, somewhere between the suburbs and Seattle was a home on a hill with an oak tree out front that held memories of a time of rebellion and innocence, and yet the reckoning of my absent and restless mind chose to play me. Continuously, I was played, over and over and over again until the front door slammed, dishes met counter, doors closed again and snores filled the empty void that another knock came at my door.

It was midnight. Nothing but the moonlight and a soft desk light illuminated my bedroom. I began another letter:

I’ve grown accustomed to being alone. I wake up every morning with a feeling that the day I’ll feel different. But it never happens and I’m stuck in a heap of aches. And I wonder if you lie awake, wherever that may be, missing me the way I miss you.

My pen trembles as the knock comes again.

It is 3:46 a.m.

I sit; the house is uncomfortably still.

The desk light retracts into darkness and a cold draft enters my room as the bedroom door opens. I keep my posture slumped, my hands resting on my lap. A presence sets itself on my shoulder and whispers, “You know who I am.”

Maybe I’ll never understand why you came to me that night. I remember the feeling of falling and waking up the next morning in my bed. I never really sleep nowadays, but I remembered the way you used to coax me to bed. A simple call, a new story you had written, or the song you used to play and the irresistible want that rested in the pit of my belly as I listened from the other end of the receiver. Ceaselessly, you’ve reminded me of yourself, your every existing and nonexisting self.

“I can’t explain what I mean. And even if I could, I’m not sure I’d feel like it.” -J.D. Salinger, “The Catcher in the Rye”

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