By Gloire

16:45, time to go. I let out an exhausted sigh of relief as the time to depart from the warm archaic teacher’s room has finally arrived. With a final glance around the room, I switch off my PC and pack my belongings into my red, slightly worn backpack and prepare for the treacherously cold and lonely journey back home. Slowly I stand up from my chair and in the corner of my eye I notice the golden yellow rays of my 2023 agenda beaming brightly, I lift it off the table and instinctively my hands open the first few pages of the notebook that read “I hope our year is just as bright, just as warm. I love you, Sunshine”. It was a new years gift, he said he got it for me because yellow was his favourite colour and that it reminded  him of me. I took it as a peace offering, a promise even, that the turbulence and the chaos of the past would be no more and that peace and tranquillity would follow suit.

“Alright, see you tomorrow” I shout and wave goodbye to my colleagues, their figures blurring as I leave the staffroom and make my way down the narrow brick hallways that are decorated with fresh flower arrangements from the ongoing flower show. As I walk out I can’t help but admire the elegant pieces that the students put together and the sweet smell of marigolds, gerberas and sunflowers accompanying me as I leave the building providing a much needed comfort.

Outside I am welcomed by the cold crisp air running along the base of my freshly braided scalp, and the light rain showers pattering against my thick jacket. I walk carefully watching my every step as I walk on the slippery tar pavement sidestepping rain puddles and dancing around the patches of mud. It’s summer now but the weather has been like this for the past two weeks. I wonder what could’ve happened to her that she would go from being warm and delightful to cold, wet and miserable in almost an instant, a metamorphosis of some sort, it’s funny how we were one in the same.

Home is only a mere 15 minutes away but these days everything takes longer than usual.It must be because of the unrestrained weight of my emotions that casts a shadow on the simplest of tasks making them difficult and unnerving. Walking down the endless, empty street I finally notice a familiar iron red gate, quickly picking up the pace as the rain steadily intensifies. I quickly open the gate and slip into the sheltered veranda where I leave my drenched trainers and  hang my soaked jacket. I change into a pair of warm soothing pyjamas and carefully prepare a wholesome dinner to nourish my weary body. I cosily settle into the couch and play an old movie hoping that my thoughts would wander away far enough for me to have a moment of bliss. But like broken glass shards the painful thoughts prickle every part of my being and continue to torment me.

19:45, I gaze at my appetising untouched dinner and place it in the microwave and make my way to the haven that is my bed. I log on to Instagram hoping that some mindless scrolling would bring some calmness to my turbulent mind. I come across a funny post that manages to draw a simple smile across my lips, instinctively I try to share it with him until the throbbing reminder that I can’t do that anymore hits me like a train that has gone off the rails. This invokes, again, the impending questions that swirl uncontrollably in my mind, “What am I to do when everything reminds me of him? Was I not enough? Where did I go wrong? Was it all a lie?”. Slowly my phone begins to fall from my hands and my mind begins to drift away.

“The water is just right babe, jump in” he says, reaching out, anxiously I back away trying to avoid the water as my fear of the ocean creeps up from within but his kind and attentive voice manages to drown the wildest of my fears, he always knew just what to say. Gently I place my palms on his and slowly we make our way into the cold ocean body. Every footstep sends a cold shiver down my back forcing me to intensify my grip around his arm, a faint scream and giggle manages to escape my lips as I find myself immersed in an experience I never thought I would ever have the courage to experience.

His kind mesmerising eyes watching my every step while the radiant sun glistens over the water droplets that lace his golden-brown body. Joyfully, we walk further and further into the cool expanse of the ocean jumping along to the rhythm of waves crashing against our bodies, while bursts of pure exhilarating laughter erupt from our bellies. We retreat from the splashing water and onto the grainy shore. In the distance our favourite song plays, amidst the swaying palm trees we gaze passionately into each other’s eyes dancing the entire night away to the rhythm of our heartbeats. Under the stars we spend the night talking about our dreams and the depth of our love for each other.

5:45, the intrusive sound of my alarm permeates my slumber and brings me back to my sullen reality once again. I find myself staring at the blank ceiling replaying scenes of the dream as it dances before my mind’s eye.  A single teardrop rolling down my face as if I had just seen a subconscious cinematic masterpiece of what could’ve been, of what should have been. I turn to my side and stare through the clear window that is a stark contrast to the murky thoughts that pervade my mind. The sun faintly shines behind the dark envious clouds providing a muted warmth that does little to relieve me from the numb pain weighing on my chest that paralyses my desire for anything and anyone. But the show must go on, the show must go on.

13 November, 2023