The red apple

The bell

Time has a funny way of stirring about our hearts. It whispers to us a promise, one that it can’t always keep.

One night, when I worked at the bookstore, I was working the closing shift. At a time when the sun refused to shine any longer, and customers were scarce, silence was my only companion in the store. The clock would play jokes with me each night, inching eight o clock towards me seconds at a time. Boredom filled me, nearly to the point of madness. I stared at the time eagerly, begging it to tick faster, cursing the slow changing digits. I would count down the drawers early, roll up the receipts, stamp the checks, anything to shorten the time I would have to stay here. Anything to get me home sooner.

Eight O clock arrived like a reluctant promise. I rushed through closing, excited that work was over. Switching the lights out, clicking the computers off, and clutching the store key in my hand, I stepped through the dark store towards the front door. Placing my hand on the door to push it open, I felt how cold the night was through the glass. I looked through the glass at the night sky. Stars dotted the darkness, a network of lights, a community of cosmic bodies. They twinkled, as if to speak to one another. I pushed the door open and the cold air greeted me. I shuddered. Locking the door, I turned to face the parking lot. Across the vast empty lot, the neon signs of a massive 99 cent store flickered. I saw my car parked under the same tree I always left it at, silently waiting, like a loyal mutt.

There, under another cold night sky, I came to see with a crushing realization that the night held nothing for me. I had nothing to go home to, besides another few empty hours in an empty room before sleep overtook me, and another day of the same restless routines began. There was no smile I looked forward to seeing, no soul in this cold night awaited my appearance. There was nothing for me, at the end of this day. I looked up at the stars, hoping that answers could fall like the rain. Perhaps miracles occurred.

There is something terrible about not having something to go home to. To realize futility under a dark night sky, and to not know whether your next breath was a promise to someone, or merely another empty oath. The human heart was made to feel eager, to anticipate and to shake with excitement. Emptiness is perhaps the greatest tragedy of human existence.

There is a whispered sentiment that stirs in each man’s heart. One that some of us fear, and others of us live. On certain nights, we realize this in the silence, and we find ourselves in a night that is so much deeper and darker than we ever imagined.

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