It’s a Friday afternoon.
A hot, blistering Friday afternoon. You’d just woken up from a strange dream, the strangest you’ve ever had from your daily after-school naps. You swear you just felt the cold gunmetal against your cheek and smelled the rising fetor of mud. You shake the thought away as you wipe the beads of sweat on your forehead and rub the sleep off your eyes.
Your eyes soon focus on the sky’s shifting colors, from a pale blue to rich orange, as you tune out the loud and guttery sputters of your surely overheating electric fan set on its highest level. Your eyes leave the scene of finely spun clouds over clementine canvas as they drift to the steel gray fan. You watch its plastic blades rotate over and over again, and you wonder if it would ever spin out and combust in revulsion for being condemned to the same, sickening routine.
You close your eyes and let out a heavy exhale, which was mostly unheard with the fan’s distressed wailing, as you begin to question the weight and grief you are feeling. Several thoughts began to brew in your head—answers to why, more questions of what—but all were put to a pause as a soft chime rang in the air.
The screen of your smartphone lit up with a notification—an invite to open it up and once again be sucked into the seemingly endless depths of the internet. Nevermind that you’ve been on it for the past eight hours, leaving you with strained eyes and a terrible posture. You ignore the ache of your eyes and wait in eager anticipation to see the image sent to your class’s group chat.
A new date; a deadline.
Then, a few more pings resound signaling the flood of reactions and questions your classmates have about the new project. Once again, quiet and utter aloneness, with the constant, wailful mockery of your electric fan as your companion, now joined by the rustles from the beginnings of a small basketball scrimmage. You rub your cheeks in frustration as tears begin to sprout at the corner of your eyes.
In another time, another dimension
It’s the same hot, blistering Friday afternoon. Instead of being alone in your room with your companions confined into little rectangles, you are in a classroom, sitting on your familiar armchair, laughing as one of your classmates cracks a joke. There were messy doodles on the margins of your notebook, and your hand was stained with blue ink. Your skin was beginning to itch because of your cardigan’s fabric, but you paid it no mind as you continued with your productive chatter.
In that afternoon, the air was somewhat cold, but everything felt as warm as comfort, a great good feeling to have on your chest. This other afternoon feels like a memory that you longed for so badly that you can almost feel it on your skin, by the very tips of your fingers. You long for another simple afternoon like this, even just once this year.
In this moment
Reality gradually seeps in and you return to the hot, blistering Friday afternoon you began with. And in this afternoon, and all afternoons like this, you are left with dwindling strength. You stare at the dizzying blades again before you turn the fan off. You let out a tired smile. Along with dusk was your rest, for tomorrow is another day and you have to be strong.
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