Change

This story is a bit more autobiographical than maybe I’d like it to be. A bit more uncomfortable than it probably needed to be. But, here it is. Today, I was looking for something to write, and a prompt from a website that I hate said “Write a story about the first line of your favorite song.”

So, here it is, and a heavily edited but in-faith story of my favorite song. Oh, contains foul language, since I know there are a few of you who read these at work. Might want to not do that, if that’s a problem for you.

The knocking on the door had woken me, though I can’t claim to have not expected it or truly been asleep. I barely moved a muscle as the incessant hand then foot knocked then kicked at the door of my tiny apartment. My eyes barely focused at anything in particular, as I imagined the sound from the door as light, each thump green but fading through the spectrum before disappearing through indigo and then ultraviolet. It was the first light I’d seen in weeks, and I missed it, almost. Three weeks and two days, to be exact.

Three weeks and two days ago, the Sun fell out of the sky, into the Pacific, and gently cooled itself to a much less angry glow. He’d decided to move somewhere else, somewhere nicer where he didn’t have to be so hot all the time. I was good with it, I said. We’d been through this before and he’d come back again, I said. I said I didn’t need him around me anyhow, that I could do just fine without him and to go the fuck away away from me and away from here. He told me that he wasn’t coming back. He said to get used to the darkness. I punched him, and the Sun fell down and rolled away toward Anaheim or Costa Mesa or India or Jupiter.

No one else seemed to care, going on about their ignorance in total darkness. The stars pointed me home, following Orion’s belt through to Cygnus, around Draco and right at Polaris. Came home, and taped up all my windows, real good. I used black construction paper, and made sure that I couldn’t see anything from outside, ever again. That way, if the Sun came looking for me, he’d never know I was here. I locked the door of my apartment and slinked into bed. Lay there ever since, almost.

Whoever was knocking really wanted in. I heard a faint voice, yelling at me to get out, get out there, get the fuck out there, to come to the door. Almost begging me.

Didn’t care. I rolled over and pulled the sheet over my head, closing my eyes.

I hadn’t used my voice in three weeks and one day. When the Sun went down for the final time, I woke up the next morning and opened my window, just to see if it was true.

Was. Sun was gone. Gone for good. Even the stars had gone away, and the moon nestled itself behind my window, just out of sight. I think I screamed something in a language most humans can’t make and laid in my bed. This bed. The same bed I hadn’t moved from in three weeks and one day, the bed I made myself a man in, the same bed Uncle Johnny wanted to make me a man in.

The knocking stopped and I picked up my head to listen. Silence again. I’d have smiled if capable, if not weakened by the lack of Sunlight. Didn’t need much, couldn’t eat much. In fact, I forgot to eat. Funny how that happens when the Sun goes down.

I heard a key in the door, the tumblers turning, and the door creeking open. The hardwood floors clip-clopped a heavy high heeled shoe. A few moments later, there was a warm hand on my face, tears in her eyes. I looked at her, but I couldn’t make out her face in the darkness, she was featureless, her face constantly shifting. She said my name — Peter — but, I’d forgotten it again. She cried on me as I put my hand to hers.

“The Sun’s gone. It’s not rising anymore and it’s my fault,” I said quietly. She pulled me up into her arms, her tears wet the side of my face as she rocked me, gently.

“I know baby. I know. Shhh.”

The next morning, three weeks and three days after the Sun set, it rose again, high over Paris, London and then, me. He winked at me, and I nodded at him, a tip of the cap and almost a smile. I took the construction paper down and that night, Orion guided me home once more.

Change by Blind Melon:
I don’t feel the sun’s comin’ out today
It’s staying in, it’s gonna find another way, yeah, hey
As I sit here in this misery
I don’t think I’ll ever no long’ seen the sun from here

And, oh, as I fade away
They’ll all look at me and say and they’ll say
“Hey, look at him”, I’ll never live that way
And that’s okay, they’re just afraid to change

Ah, when you feel life ain’t worth living
You’ve got to stand up and take a look around
You look up way to the sky
Hey and when your deepest thoughts are broken
Keep on dreaming boy, ’cause when you stop dreamin’ it’s time to die

And as we all play parts of tomorrow, oh, no, no
Some ways we’ll work, in other ways we’ll play, yeah, yeah
But I know we can’t all stay here forever, oh
So I want to write my words on the face of today
And then they’ll paint it up

And, oh, as I fade away, yeah
They’ll all look at me and say, they’ll say
“Hey, look at him and where he is these days”
When life is hard, you have to change
When life is hard, you have to change

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