I write, therefore I am (so very tired)
And so the boy returned to his bed. His limbs tired after a day of writing. His body kissed the blankets, like welcoming home an old friend. Sleep came at last, beckoning in its warm surrender.
Today is yesterday’s tomorrow.
The screams echoed down the hallway seared by the blood of a thousand men.
Awaiting outside the previously clean room was the family. A raggedy bunch, having been called out to the hospital at an ungodly hour. Despite this, the characters seemed to be in a mode of anticipatory elation. Not surprising, given what was going on in the room behind their backs.
The mother screamed again. No, continued screaming. There was no time for silence given the deed at hand. As she pushed by the doctor’s orders a small lump of flesh emerged from her innards. Push after push, pushed this creature out into the light of the operationg room. As the mother’s screams slowed and turned to tears, a new sound arose amongst the carnage.
Lighter screams, duller crying. It brought a smile to the mother as she reached out for the child. The family awaiting outside rushed in to the sight of the baby being cradled in it’s mother’s arms. The family, complete once again, rejoiced.
The little girl stared out the window, at the cold expanse of space and twinkles of stars. They seemed to stare back inside her. Everything laid out there, all of anything that could be imagined.
Someday she wanted to go up there. Be an astronaut.
The adults said she was silly.
The kids said she was a nerd.
Her teddy bear didn’t say anything.
The stars twinkled invitingly,
So she said she could do it.
But there’s only so much an eight year old can do when you’re busy with school work. Day in, day out. Work handed in, handed back out. The monotony continued for years, unaffected by the changing world as it seemed.
Her grade 3 teacher was fun. She would hold her in her arms and say, “You can be whatever you want. Just try hard for me. Someday you’ll get there.”
She liked her grade 3 teacher.
Grade 4 ticked by. “Only the smart students can be astronauts.” said her report card, so along came grade 5, a fresh start.
Grade 5 passed, “She’s a very applied student.” read her report card. “Unfortunately she doesn’t cooperate with others well.”
Grade 6: “You’re not creative enough.” said the next report card, as translated by her mother from the confusing teacher talk she was unfamiliar with.
Secondary school begins, up with the big kids. Back in primary she had looked up to them, as she had the stars; however only one of them drew her fancy.
"Your painting of space was beautiful, you should consider this as a career." chimed her art teacher. "What if I don’t want to be an artist." she thought to herself.
Teachers told her she was a model student. She could do this, or that, or what about this! To her it all sounded silly, Earth was boring. Slowly but surely however, what the teachers said leaked into her mind. Space slipped out of her consciousness, replaced by dreams of being an accountant, an entrepeneur or a secretary - if she was lucky. All she had to do was try her hardest.
So she did, she worked day in, day out. Learned money and “people skills”. A career lined up for herself and heaps of “connections”. Her posters of astronauts and earth to be replaced by a stark modern wall. “It’s what’s in right now.”
School blinked by in an instant. Teachers wrote her references, she gave them gifts - paid for by her new job at a law firm.
Sitting in her plump chair, surrounded by expensive paintings and foreign sculptures, she couldn’t imagine a better life. She even had a secretary! But not everything was perfect. A lot of her books were still left at her parents’ house.
"Hey mom, can I come round to pick up some stuff?"
"Sure honey, whenever you want."
"See you soon."
Her room looked foreign to her. It had been so many years since she had last been there. Her mom gave her a box and helped load them full of her books. Mostly the classics: Journey to the Center of the Earth, things like that.
With her car loaded, and goodbyes said. She got into her car, ready to go. Something stopped her though, and she decided to go back to her room. Say a final goodbye to the place, you know.
She ran her fingers along the dusty shelves and desk. She jumped on her bed and spread her arms out, like she used to, when younger. Closing her eyes, she heard the racket her mom was making while trying to cook dinner. She opened her eyes again and looked at the roof. It was covered with glow-in-the-dark stars.
She slowly remembered it, when she was younger she wanted to be an astronaut. Go up there, amongst those stars, and look back upon her home. She sat upright. “I wanted to go to space. No, I do want to go to space.”
She ran downstairs and yelled a hurried goodbye to her mom as she slammed the door. Into her car she flew and drove away at a speed much faster than the limit. Arriving at her house, she ran upstairs to her computer.
"How to become an Astronaut" she typed.
About 31,400,000 results.
"Astronaut requirements" she read. "Astronauts must be well versed in science and technology, have a passion for exploration and be physically fit."
"I can do this" she muttered as she took a deep breath. And so it began, a lifelong dream, forgotten and refound.
Three years later, she strapped her safety harness over her space suit. “T-minus 3 minutes” said a static-y voice in her headset. She reached into the locker near her feet, feeling for her teddy bear. Holding him close to herself, a small tear rolled down her cheek. She looked over to other astronaut sitting next to her with a huge grin. She gripped her teddy and whispered “This is it.” She slid her teddy back into the locker and begin the pre-flight systems check. Preparing for launch.
A few minutes later the heavy rocket began to spill forth fire from it’s bottom, and it started to fly upwards, towards the stars that she had begun to feel so comfortable with since she was a child.
Mission Control heard a faint voice over their radio as the rocket ascended into the sky: “Thank you.”
She slipped out of the door almost as quickly as she had slipped her clothes off. A job’s a job, and no one likes over time.
With a pocket full of crumpled bills covered in grime, she hurried through the snowing streets of Paris. Her mind thinking not of her past deeds but of the future ones she would have to endure. “Just a job” was her justification.
Her life was fake. New men every day, pretend you like them. “The dream” said the women at the brothel. “Dead end” is what she thought.
She brushed the snow off of her coat as she pushed open the door to her measly apartment, shared with three other whores. “Anyone home?” she called out. Nothing but echoes. Her “shift” had ended early.
She slipped her clothes off again, unlike how she did at her client’s “office”. This time it was quick and ragged, no teasing involved. A quick shower later and she was lying in her bed. Enough strange beds for the day.
Her mind slipped into the darkness of the encroaching Parisian night only illuminated by flashes of light from the Eiffel Tower. A sparkling diamond of hope.
Airships were going to dock on the top, but the winds proved too dangerous for that. When she was young, and didn’t know what prostitute meant, she had hoped that one day an airship would dock, just for her, and take her away.
Oh how she hoped an airship would take her away now, more than ever. Damn her “friends.” Damn her “colleagues.” Damn this stupid “life” that didn’t seem to have any escape from the rut she was in. She was tired. Tired of her job. Tired of her friends. Tired of Paris.
Tired of life.
It was at this moment that her “boss” started banging on the door to their apartment. One of her “colleagues” shook her awake.
“Big day today” yelled her “colleague” as she briskly walked to the door and opened it wide, revealing the portly figure of a man who she had somehow come to be employed by.
“Get ready, sluts. No slacking today” he yelled at them. She recoiled at his words. She sank down into her bed, resigned to this life. A sharp pain hit her leg.
“Here’s the details for where you’ll be working today.” said her “boss” in a gruff tone. She picked up the clipboard.
Another address. It was like this everyday. She got up, put on her clothes and walked out the door.
She walked by the Eiffel Tower. It had let her down. She walked across the Seine. How unfortunate she was to not have anywhere to go but the new address she got every day and “home.”
She paused on the bridge and looked into the frigid waters swirling below in the crisp air on this winter morning.
She could end it all. End it all and no one would know. Become another statistic and disappear. Sometimes it felt like that was all she could do. Someday she’d do it. Right now she wasn’t bothered.
She heard a whistle behind her. “What’s a pretty lady like you doing out on this bridge in those clothes?” A young man looked across the road at her. He slowly crossed the road, watching for traffic.
He came toward her. She stared blankly at the oncoming threat. “I’m tired. What do you want?”
“You. Care to come home with me? It’s oh so cold out here.” he said.
“I’m busy, Have to go to work.” she replied. Eyes still blank.
“No choice then.” he asserted. ”Come with me.” He grabbed her hand.
She looked around, no one looked at them. A stranger in a strange city.
“I have to go now.” she said as she ripped her wrist out of her attacker’s grip.
“That’s a bad idea.” He took a step forward.
She took a step back and felt the cold metal of the railing touch her. “Damn you.” She leaned back on the rail and used her weight to tip herself over the edge, using the tricks she had learnt at “work.”
She fell down into the windswept river. Another forgotten statistic.
My inner monologue is very controversial.
Thankfully it’s more of an inner dialogue.
She paused as she digested the words he had uttered. Her lips parted as if to say something, but thankfully she turned to face her next victim.
It was solely the creation of a forgotten late night stupor.