Move Along [Short Story]

Evri is tired.

She’s tired of life and its struggles, of the petty complaints of her next door neighbor, and of the happy chirping of birds outside her window—what were they so happy about in this concrete jungle?—the rushing cars and cursing people were terrible. That isn’t to say she’d be happier in the countryside because she’d tried that, and she’d been just as miserable. She could recall days when she was an active part of the hustle and bustle of the city, when she smiled and cursed and scorned as much as the next man. It was easy to be swept away in the nuances of every day. But suddenly, the rug gets pulled from under you, and everything is no longer so distinct. Colors blur and emotions fluctuate, until the traces of happiness fade like paper in the rain.

And here she sits with cheek in hand, stuck in the echoes of yesterday. Silence her only companion. It was a strange feeling—monotony—so sudden, and so very bleak. She cries when she wants and smiles when it’s appropriate, but there was no feeling behind those expressions. At the time, perhaps, but nothing so lasting as to break her free from the binds of… of what? She, herself, doesn’t know. And her mind, the forgetful thing, fails to remind her. It’s been doing that a lot lately.

She thinks she’ll become an expert at forgetting soon.

That the little things will leave her, then the big ones after, and finally the ones that she thought she couldn’t live without. The thought doesn’t terrify her as much as she thinks it should. And even she starts to believe she has a problem—not that she was going to do anything about it. Lethargy’s embrace is a comforting one, and she wants to remain wrapped in it just a bit longer.

But after a while even her friends take notice. Some say nothing, content to simply leave her be. Others, the truer and nosier ones, encourage her to talk to them. They tell her to try therapy or this incredible new drug, to go outdoors and feel the sun on her skin, to go out and challenge herself. It’s no surprise that not long after, even her family realizes something’s… not wrong, but not quite right either. Then the endless cycle of advice and tearful support repeats itself. But they don’t understand that she doesn’t want to do that. Evri just wants to sit and watch the world, to sleep for a year and allow this—whatever it is—to pass her by. Until she can stand without having to encourage herself to walk again.

Because she is tired.

So, so tired.

No word can describe it better. Tired has an everyday flare to it, and unlike exhausted or fatigued or any other word she knows, it speaks more the softer it’s uttered. The world is already too loud a place, it certainly needs more gentleness. It needs words that could quiet someone in instant realization. Words that could evoke deep response, without seeking further explanation. Because it’s common knowledge that when someone is tired, all they want is rest.

But Evri can’t quite find it, and the search is driving her mad. Peace always slips through her fingers. Falling away. Always away. She gets close to it sometimes, but she doesn’t notice until the feelings pass, and then she’s left staring out her window once again—like now.

There’s a fly buzzing by her ear, it’s terribly loud, somehow louder than the radio’s peppy DJ whose catchphrase has the amazing ability to annoy even her cat. Evri wants to swat at it until it leaves her be, but she’s loathe to admit that lifting her hand to do anything more than bring her cigarette to her lips is a chore in itself. So, she just glares at it, willing it to go away with her unspoken malice. The fly doesn’t, of course, and has the audacity to settle right on her window. As if to spite her.

Evri doesn’t know how long she stares at it. But the traffic outside eases, the mailman finishes his rounds, and the homeless lady that stands sentinel outside her building packs her cart and disappears off into the endless sidewalk. Where they receive a good night kiss from the sun itself every evening—but who has time to notice those things anyway? She, herself, barely registers it. The orange is distant compared to the speck of black before her. She’s far more interested in the fly that, for reasons beyond reason, stopped in its tracks, staring up at her for the span of an age and a single moment.

“What’s the matter?” she asks, standing and willing it to answer. “Can’t you fly? Why are you just sitting there?”

The fly doesn’t answer.

Of course it doesn’t, Evri berates herself, it’s a fly.

But like a spell has been broken, it buzzes its absurdly loud little wings and takes off, heading right into her room. Conniving fiend, that one. Now it’ll bother her in her sleep. As if she needed any more reason to hate the day.

But distantly, she realizes, that she is standing.

A smile doesn’t grace her lips and she doesn’t exactly remember what it feels like to laugh until her stomach hurts, but she’s not frowning either. Her eyebrows certainly aren’t pinched. The sounds of the outside world flowing in through her window still grates on her ears, though they’re a bit quieter than before. And then she looks at her terribly uncomfortable chair. It looks subdued, more so than her, as if it has held her weight for too long.

Silly chair, she thinks, that’s your job.

But because her cushions are sunken in and the door seems so near today, she exits.

It is easier than she expects.

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