come alive

Posted on August 31, 2009

4


This is just something I’ve been working on; eventually I hope to submit it for publication. Let me know what you think.

Sunrises make me come alive. I’m usually up far before the sun makes an appearance anyway, so when the first light of the day creeps its way across the sky I can’t help but smile. Sunsets are relaxing; sunrises take my breath away.

It was three months ago, in the middle of a gorgeous sunrise filled with glowing iridescent clouds and trees that looked on fire, that I met her. We both arrived at school early, before the janitors came and lights in the classrooms made a dance of electricity. We stood next to each other, completely silent.

And then I heard it. She was crying. I remember distinctly the feeling of dread. I hated coming into contact with people who cried, especially those who made a habit of it. I tucked my brown hair behind my ear and focused on the light blue that was taking over the deep violet of the sky.

“I never should have gone home yesterday.”

My insides sank. Was this girl seriously trying to make conversation? My eyebrows bent in frustration as if suddenly my nail beds were absolutely fascinating…I hoped she would not say anything else.

“I never should have believed him when he said he’d change.” Her words were stilted, interrupted by hiccupped sobs.

Obviously she wasn’t going to stop talking, so I figured I’d just sit there and listen. I turned my face halfway towards hers and raised an eyebrow.

Apparently, that’s all she needed. I never even had to say a word.

“I mean, it’s not like he’s my dad or anything, but he’s sleeping in the same bed as my mom. You’d think I’d get some kind of perk besides him trying to crawl in the same bed as me.”

She had my attention then. Was she…was she serious? Somewhere in the recesses of my social understanding I found my voice.

“Is this some kind of sick joke?”

She didn’t pay any mind to my question. “I had to wait a little longer than normal to get out of the house this time,” she shuddered, “he uh…he fell asleep…” She couldn’t finish save the tears streaming down her face.

“Listen, you don’t have to tell me this.”

She turned and looked at me with mascara inked around her eyes like a wet raccoon. “Do you ever look at the sunrise and feel hope? It’s a new day. What’s left behind in yesterday has passed and there is nothing you can do to bring it back. It’s reliable. The promise of a morning sky supersedes anything I’ve ever known. It’s beautiful. All of the colors, mixing together to create a new shade…” Her voice dropped to just above a whisper. “Without the sunrise I wouldn’t feel alive. The sunrise reminds me there’s always another day coming…”

I was speechless. Who was this girl? I looked closely but didn’t recognize her despite the oversized hoodie, sock sleeves and greasy hair.

Somewhere in the distance, birds began to sing, a three note song of hope and promise; glancing at the sky I gasped, the light blue had begun to mix with red to create a rainbow of radiating light that stood in stark contrast to the few stars that remained stubbornly behind.

I turned to hear more of her story, I was held captive by the intricate connection I had felt in such a short amount of time. I remember being keenly disappointed when I realized she was gone.

Her words echoed in my brain. How had she known my story? How could someone be going through the exact same thing, but different? I looked around one more time, to make sure that I hadn’t missed her hiding in a corner or shrinking back undetected, but she was no where to be found.

That was when I met her, though. That was when I met the girl who changed my life. I never saw her again, even though I constantly looked for her in the crowded hallways of the school. Every once in awhile, I would remember the conversation with stunning clarity. This stranger had, in one simple phrase, thrown my world incredibly off-kilter. And regardless of whether I ever saw her again or whether she was a figment of my often times active imagination, I didn’t care. Her words give me a reason to believe. Her words remind me of one simple thing: hope.

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Posted in: Fiction, Writing