Sorry for the long break, guys… This isn’t from a prompt. Just because, I guess:
It’s a big one. The sneeze is strong enough to knock my head forward, so strong that I can practically feel my teeth rattling in my skull. The tissue isn’t quite strong enough to absorb the impact – I wipe blobs of snot off the wall by the couch.
I have had enough of this cold. Enough of the sneezing and the coughing and achiness. Enough of the various colors of mucus that seem to have taken up residence in my body.
“I don’t feel that bad.”
Maybe saying it out loud will make it true?
Not quite, since those words are followed by a hacking cough.
I gaze longingly out the window. The night is relatively warm – almost sixty. And the breeze blowing through the trees makes it look almost tropical.
I’ve been holed up in my apartment for two days now, chugging gallons of tea and soup. I’ve been popping Dayquil like M & Ms and I still don’t feel better.
My nose is sore, my eyes are bleary and I’m sick of being sick.
Maybe one little walk wouldn’t hurt?
I pull on a pair of sweatpants and my favorite hoody, packing the pockets with Kleenex and chap stick, before I venture out into the outside world. Or at least the outside world that comprises the little lake outside of my house.
My headphones are in, and somehow the music on my cell phone manages to penetrate the stuffiness in my ears…. And it’s nice. It’s nice to stretch my legs, for the first time in two days, to breathe a little fresh air – well, as much breathing as I can manage, anyhow.
The lake is peaceful and quiet. I’m the only one walking, which is preferable, really. I don’t need to get anyone else sick, do I?
Around the lake once. Twice. The third time, I gaze up at my apartment from the opposite side of the lake. I left the lights on and I’m glad I did.
There’s always something comforting, when you’re out walking at night, about looking in windows. You can see into people’s lives – warm living rooms, with comfortable couches and families sprawled out on them, watching TV or eating dinner. There’s nothing like that warm, golden light coming out of a home.
I think I’ll cry when those cold, blue energy efficient bulbs replace the old yellow ones – it’ll never be the same. But looking up into your own living room is somehow special – there’s something particularly comforting in knowing that golden glow is your own – your comfy sofa you’ll be coming home to, with a cup of tea waiting.
Of course, there’s no cup of tea waiting for me – there’s a pile of dishes and laundry waiting, but the glowing light doesn’t know that.
So I take a few moments to catch my breath and to look up at my apartment which, from a distance, looks cozy and warm, instead of messy. And it manages to look cozy and warm…. Until a shadow crosses in front of my living room window. A man-shaped shadow.
The dark blot moves across the golden glow purposefully, swiftly. This is someone on a mission. This is someone with a purpose.
This is someone in my home.
Suddenly, I can’t breathe.
And it isn’t because of my cold.
To be continued….
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