Exodus II

He awoke in the middle of the night, the cool breeze from the probing electric fan touched his skin. Staring blankly at the shadows playing above his bed, he had grown to appreciate their existence. They were, to him, the sole indicators that he wasn’t inside his dreamless sleep. He tilted his head to the left, just enough to see the yellow light casting the same shadows from outside his window. The burning light shone as bright as a setting sun, yet he focused on it, never once trying to block the painful rays with his hands; It was not because he couldnt move them, rather he never wanted to. His body was wide awake, but it had settled itself too deep within sheets and shadows for comfort.

He had learned to live with these, in his own terms, “sudden awakenings,” having experienced them for months now. It had developed into a, not exactly daily, kind of habit. He had no intentions whatsoever to develop it, yet he, too, never had the intentions to end it. It just happens; and he had long accepted its, lack of a better word, “naturality.” And it had always, ALWAYS, been, more or less, the same. The only notable differences would be the world seen through his rectangular window: may it be with tapping raindrops slowly ascending the glass, making little yellow sparkles as they made their way down; or, much like that time, with the static glow of a semi-rural baranggay’s street lamp.

But, something shook the familiarity of that experience: the seamless humming of the fan was drowned by the noise outside. It was late in May, summer was giving way to the rainy season, crickets were singing its songs to the stars.

He lay there motionless, save for the steady rise and fall of his chest. In his mind, everything else, aside from the burning street light and the cricket sounds, disappeared. Slowly, without his own knowledge, he became engulfed in the concert of chirps. Like a progressive conversation of blending melodic beats, the song became his center. The crickets became so close to him: so close that they reminded him of himself.

And, without him wanting to, he remembered her face. And, he remembered all too well. In his mind, the smooth curves of her face took form; then, her tresses that kissed her cheeks; her almond-shaped eyes and her dark-brown iris; her lips and then her smile.

His eyes twitched, remembering her face wasn’t really what he wanted. In fact, he wanted NOT to. He wanted to forget her more than anything else.

Indeed, the crickets reminded him of himself: he thought of how he sang to her; how something like him could dream of having someone like her. Like a cricket singing to a star.

For the first time since his waking, the fingers on his right hand moved. His right arm moved to his head. He closed his eyes as the cupped his face with his hand, as if trying to stop tears from falling. His eyes, once focused on the light, ached. He could still see the yellow light even with his eyes closed and covered with his hand. He tightened his grip to his head as his eyelids sqeezed harder. He forced himself to sleep: the only way to escape from the light; the only way to escape from the crickets.

But then, as he was forcing himself to sleep, his phone rang. He suddenly pulled his hand away from his head, opened his eyes, and froze for a second. He shifted his weight to his left side, his back then faced the window as he reached for his phone on the right side of the bed.

The beeping from his phone echoed along the corners of his room: bouncing from one wall to the other; forming an invisible wall to block out the chirps from the outside. His eyes adjusted to the light from the screen of the phone. It took a bit longer than expected, but he saw the date and time on it, 28.05.2007 10:53. It was still quite early, he thought.

“Hello?”

In that moment, the image in his mind dissolved. Though, not as quickly as it appeared, as he was conscious of its fading. Gradually, as the conversation developed, his realized the thin line between the past and the present. And when it was time to say goodbye, he said it with a smile.

“Sweet dreams to you, too, Dianne…”

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~ by saikow on May 8, 2007.

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