Sleep was a stranger to me, she was an elusive muse, a reflection out of reach. I did all I could to dance with her; exercise, diet, no screens or reading, no coffee or tea, mediation and just laying there waiting. Nothing worked.
I decided not to waste this time with trying and waiting. I turned to quiet actives; reading, writing, jigsaw puzzles and box set watching. Sometimes I would doze off and other times I would be awake to hear the breakfast time news.
The idea of seeing the sunrise came to me one morning when, watching from the curtain covered window, I saw how the first sunlight changed the colour of the room. I thought, how many people actually see the sunrise?
The next night, I looked when the sunrise was timed for and an hour or so before then, I went out to a local beauty spot which was a large lake.
There I saw a glorious sunrise. so many colours touched the calm water as the sky melted from black to blue. My breath was stuck in my throat and my eyes couldn’t behold the raw wonder before me. I felt the first brush of warmth on my skin like a lover’s arms wrapped around me in a gentle embrace.
I took photo after photo trying to capture what I saw but the imagines couldn’t compare to the real thing. I didn’t want it to end but of course it did. All the blurs of colours settled and became what everyone saw during each day. The lake’s magic vanished and the water became a normal blue again like the sky above all the colours had gone.
I stayed for a long time then left but that first warmth came with me and every time I closed my eyes I saw all those colours dancing again.
The garden was alive. Birds were singing merrily, bees were buzzing around the blooming flowers but I wasn’t interesting. I could see the beauty of it from my back door and the way the sunlight caused a cast of shadows against the walls and flagstones.
The air was heavy with flowers, grass, damp earth and somewhere a faint hint of burnt toast. No doubt from one of my neighbours who was rushing through breakfast. I hadn’t eaten, couldn’t face the idea of food yet. I had a few sips of water and that was enough for the moment. Later, I would have a cup of tea and a biscuit.
There was nothing wanted to do today. TV was a boring old friend, going on about the same problems. The radio was a drone of sounds that washed each other out. The birds would start to annoy me soon, they seemed too happy, too caught up in spring joy.
Why couldn’t I be as happy as them? What did they do that made then feel so good?
I stepped outside, feeling the sun like hot bath water around me. The sky was a crystal blue, too pure to be real. The flowers were too brightly coloured. They swayed in the breeze as if nodding to each other. Bees visited the blooms and carried pollen away, they large fuzzy bodies cute like children’s TV characters.
I breathed deeply and sat down in a somewhat abandoned plastic garden chair.
I didn’t want to live in the shadows anymore, the light was so much better.
The sky began to fill with light. The world murmured itself awake. Birds sing the first songs and other animals stirred themselves.
I watched from my bedroom window before I shut the black out curtains. The day was for people who could cope being outside. For me, even the slightest touch of the sun could burn my skin due to a rare allergic reaction I had been born with.
Closing the curtains, I got into bed. Thoughts of being a vampire filling my head. It was a laughable joke but it wasn’t true. I was no more a supernatural creature of the night then my boss was a pig. – Though he probably shared some of their DNA!
I snuggled into the coolness of the fresh sheets and reflected on my night shift at the open all hours petrol station. It had been quiet and I had been bored for a few hours but that was more capable then being rushed off my feet.
Dozing off, I started to dream of the day I was cured and could finally go out in the sun.
Everyone flocked to the yellow sands and blue waters as the sun blazed in the sky and the air became stifled with heat. Being in the waves cooled people and pets off whilst giving them a break from normal life. Tomorrow, everything would be back to normal as rain arrived once again.
Spring had been getting stronger over the last few days, but today as I walked my foster dogs in the woods, I noticed that it officially had become. The birds were singing as they built their nests, there was green everywhere, broken by bright flowers, the trees looked alive once more and the mud puddles were drying up.
I stopped under a row of trees and looked up at their budding leaves. The sun shone through dappling the ground in small spot lights. I felt a gently, lovely warmth on my face that made me smiled.
Sunlight started to undarkened the sky as Teagan and Mason stood on the hill side. It was a strange moment to be caught in both natural dark and light watching the sunrise. A quietness, which felt like held breathe, created a paused between the changing times.
Teagan wanted to say something about how it felt like they were waiting for a great mystery to be reveled to them but she couldn’t frame the words right. Instead, she held Mason’s hand tighter and watched the melted yellow sun breaking through the clouds.
They had come up here from their hotel room, driving first then walking the hill, to celebrate their first day of marriage life. It seemed fitting to watch the sunrise, even though the celebrations were still ringing in their ears.
A bird choir broke the silence with their welcome day song as the sky turned a wash of colours and night officially slipped away.
Teagan lent into Mason and put her head on his shoulder. He slipped his arm around her and kissed the top of her head. Nothing needed to be said, no words could describe the experience, it was all about feelings.
Sometimes it was just nice to sit down in silence and think. The park at sunrise was my place to go and do that. Nearly everyone was still in bed and there weren’t many cars on the roads. My favorite bench was at the far side of the small lake, further in then all the other resting spots. It give a great view though and if joggers, dog walkers and early starter workers were around I wouldn’t see any of them.
Age was getting to me though and it was a struggle to rise at four or five in the morning. Let alone hobble all that way! Getting the bus was easier, but sometimes I didn’t make it in time to see the sun began to rise. I tried not to let it get to me, the same way one might an illness or an argument. Like a circle though, it keep coming back around.
You don’t really think about mortally when you are young. You believe you are immortal and your life is too busy to stop and ponder deep questions like that. Though death is close at hand for us. He doesn’t care what you are doing when he sees your number is up and it’s time for him to come to take you.
Death is a friend of mine. That seems strange to say but he’s taken my three wives, two sons, my oldest brother and sister, my parents and grandparents too. He’s been apart of my life since I was born. I’m not afraid and I’ve always known I wasn’t going to live forever. That realisation helps as you age and you are just waiting out the days.
I’m following in my dad’s footsteps once again. We all do that you know. As young people we say no! I won’t become like my parents, I’ll be better or even worse if that’s what it takes. But then, we slowly become like them. Little habits they have, become our own. Voices that sound like them in moments of anger or sadness. We phrase from ourselves to them and back again, another circle that can’t be broken.
The sun rises and I feel the warmth on my dry, wrinkled skin. I wonder if there’s anything beyond this life. I’m not sure I want there to be. One life has been enough for me. I’ve said my peace and that’s all.
It wasn’t what the holiday brochure advertised but I wasn’t one to be picky. Everything worked, it was clean, the view was nice and the hotel staff friendly. It didn’t seem a bad place for a single traveller to stay in during a sunny holiday. Though the building looked really ramshackled and about to fall down. It creaked something awful which the sounds of the river and boats couldn’t counter. The feelings of danger never left and I just couldn’t relax. Sad to say, but I went home early and back to my country gripped in the blast of winter.