Buzz, Vroom, Shatter, Clang, Buzz, Vroom...
Where there is life, there is sound. The constant buzz and vibrations outside my singular rectangle window is enough to reinforce that statement. However, these sounds don’t bother me, they actually bring me comfort and peace. But, that bright streak of light peeking through the long, slightly ajar curtains is enough to awaken me from my peaceful slumber. Despite the constant roar of engines, chattering of voices and the low murmur of the tv, this flat still feels silent. And empty. So painfully, unbearably, indescribably bleak. I need more sound, more life and with that I give my arms a quick stretch above my head and swing my legs out of the bed.
Before I knew it, my feet had led me out the wooden front door. A satisfyingly loud crunch is heard under my footsteps, a sign that autumn has arrived. A disperse of leaves scatter these streets, ranging from bright burst of red, to mellow tones of yellow and woody shades of brown. The gentle breeze of the wind carries the leaves from one area to another, twirling elegantly around as if they’re full of life, free to wander wherever they please. It's not so bad living on a busy street; it lets me know that I’ll never be alone here. I can guarantee there’ll always be someone driving along these long stretches of road, whether it be the through the busy hours of 12:00 - 17:00 or even the quieter hours of 2:00 -5:00am. Alongside the pavements are all different kinds of people; parents holding their children hands, swinging them up and down in the middle whilst the child’s eyes are shut in excitement and squeals of laughter erupts from them. Behind this happy family is another, a couple walking their golden Labrador, the tail wagging excitably back and forth as it scampers about it's day . Further down these paths are business men, businesswomen, postmen, cats, joggers, teenagers and your average joe - everyone and anyone. I love how this city always hold a certain life and energy that never stops, the vibrancy refusing to come to a halt.
Yet, I also can’t stand it. I hate how I need it to survive. I hate how I can’t keep my windows shut in fear of hearing nothing. The unforgiveable silence daring to stick around, I need the vibrancy of this place to keep me going, to stop me from going insane.
After a few minutes of walking, I find myself away from the bustling street and instead in the local park – away from the buzz of the urban city life. However, I’m still surrounded by sound, children’s laughter echoing throughout the area, dogs yapping and barking as they chase after balls and the zoom of cyclists as they pass by. I know the trails and hideaways of this park like I know the alphabet (let me just affirm, that I know my ABC’s), after all, it’s where I spent a good portion of my childhood. I can see him running through the park, dark blue jeans with gaping holes ripped across the knee area, blue trainers covered in mud and leaves and a shirt always marked with a new stain. We’re playing many of our fantasy games, our imagination running wild as we try to hide from ogres and cyclops. We loved this little magical realm, how we only had to walk for 10 minutes and suddenly we’re transported to a whole new world, one in which only we can enter. We had been best friends from the age of 5, our parents and friends had always described us as inseparable.
After what felt like hours of reminiscing in the park, I drag myself away from this fantastical childhood world and make a next stop, the city centre. Right in the middle of the city is its most iconic building; the ritzy cinema. I can’t even begin to count how many hours I’ve spent here - eating popcorn, guzzling slushies and seeing the latest blockbusters. All those precious moments were spent with people dear to me, family, friends, partners etc. This cinema holds a special place for me. It’s where I discovered my love for movies, had my first ever birthday party, my first date and it’s where I got engaged!
It’s also where I discovered I was being cheating on.
It was just supposed to be the girls and I, having a day out, getting brunch and then going for a movie. So, why was he there too? And with another woman, no less. Her small frame clinging onto his arm, head resting on his shoulder as the two of them ordered their tickets. No way, I trust him...there must be an explanation! I couldn’t peel my eyes away from those two, I wanted to confront him right there and then yet my shoes felt glued to the ground. But then it happened - they kissed, and it was in that moment I knew he saw me there, and I immediately became overwhelm with intense pain and hurt. As the girls tried to console me, find out why I suddenly broke down, those two quickly exited, her face covered in utter confusion and him desperate to escape this situation. Quickly after that, we were done. What was thought to be inseparable, was proven wrong.
This cinema, it holds a special place in my heart – yet it also holds a moment I wish I could erase. A haven which was only filled with love and joy suddenly got replaced with betrayal, resentment and turmoil. I wonder, did you stay with her after we ended? Or did the guilt get to you?
Before, I could fall into a further pit of despair, I quickly headed over to the art gallery.
Surrounded by art, culture and history – I felt at peace. There is always a certain ambience in art galleries, I could feel history unwinding itself right before me. A new face, a new memory. You were the last one. You, with your deep chestnut brown eyes to match your wavy sandy blonde hair paired with invitingly warm smiles. An unmistakable passion for art, you could go on talking about the topic for ages. Not only did you bring colour back into my bleak life, you also wrote chapters into it. Somehow the pieces of my heart were getting mended bit by bit, any fragments of damage had been swept away as if there was no heartbreak. We were together for years, traveling the world, pursuing passions and just... enjoying life. As the years grew, so did we. What started off as a humble encounter in an art gallery led to years of fulfilment and enjoyment.
Feeling the numbness in my fingers and chill on my face, I decide to head to the nearest café for a hot chocolate to go. Unsurprisingly, the closest one is this café. This place was the very spot you got the news of a new job. To celebrate a new beginning, we both split an almond croissant in half and bought a couple slices of Rocky Road.
Your new job actually wasn’t that far from this café, which you loved as all our major spots were in close proximity of each other. And what was this job? An art teacher! Your passion for art and encouraging others is what lead you to be an art teacher. You loved it, said it was the most rewarding job – constantly being surrounded by creativity. How creativity is contagious and flows across the place, always surrounded by new ideas.
It was just like any other day, you finished up the last lesson of the day, told me you’d be waiting at the corner around 15:45. I went to come pick you up as your car was in service, even came by with your favourite order of coffee and a piece of Rocky Road. But it happened so quick. As you were about to cross the road, someone attacked you. Just like that. The grey, coarse pavement had become tainted with pools of fresh blood, that same vibrant crimson colour flowing into the length of the road.
And now I arrive at the graveyard. At your gravestone. It’s only 4pm, yet it feels so dark, lonely and empty. I l love this city for all the memories it’s given me, for all the opportunities in life, for the chance to meet you.
Yet, I hate this city. I hate how it reminds me of failure, heartbreak and lost. I hate how you’re forever stuck here. I hate how we cannot leave this city, I hate how I’ll never leave this city.
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Read your story through the Critique Circle initiative. The story developed really nicely. The end was my favorite :) Since I am an editor, I couldn't help but notice the error 'being cheating on'. Although I am a pretty good editor, I too end up leaving errors when I write! To avoid this, I wait a day or two after writing it to proofread it from a fresh perspective before submitting it; that way I am able to see errors in my own writing which is otherwise very difficult.
Thank you so much for your kind words! That is some really good advice, I appreciate it greatly and will make sure to do that next time 😁.