Sometimes a stranger is worth more than a thousand friends

May 6th, 2016, 7am

Suddenly the lights cut off. My reflection is gone. My heart stopped beating a while ago. My lungs are silent. I woke up in the middle of somewhere. I’ve been here before. The sun shines strong on my face. My skin is melting like butter in a pan, and my thoughts are the ones about to get fried. I close the curtain. Back in the dark place. I wake up again. Close the curtain again. An endless cycle, spinning like the wheels of a truck about to crash.

The cycle stops. Caught in a white room. I’m not alone. I find myself surrounded by my reflections. The one I’m facing is identical to me, yet a total stranger. I start to turn, slowly. First to the right, the reflections look familiar. They are the reflections of my younger self. To the left the reflections are blurry. The faces and bodies are shaking at different paces. The faces are shaking fast. You can barely see them. The bodies shake once every second and every second their clothes change. Sometimes they are full of color. Sometimes they are white and black, or full of blood. I get scared.

Traveling, I wake up. The sun shines over my face. A second passes before a cloud covers the sun. The cloud passes. The cycle repeats again. A dream. I’m late. My body walks itself out of the bus. My bag heavy as two elephants, wrapping their trunks around my shoulders. I walk for days, past millions of strangers. I make it to the next bus. Injustice surrounds me. They discriminate and humiliate others without a reason. I feel shame, and empathy. I’m a coward for staying in silence. They are strangers to me, yet they look familiar, like my own reflections.

I arrive at my destination. The elevator awaits me. I sit on a chair. My sweater is on the desk, my bag on the floor. My veins are filled with passion and inspiration for first time in ages. My mind is lost in the words and my fingers can stop typing. I start to realize that everything happens for a reason. We are the editors of our own future. Every decision we take changes the outcome. I’m back where I started. Black room, alone and broken. I’m getting used to it. My shadow is gone for good. I feel lonelier without it. I know now that I’m not inside the truck that’s about to crash, I’m on the wall that’s about to be hit. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. The future is coming, I can’t stop it. I can’t slow it down either. I scream. My voice lost in the noise of the crash. But that’s only a thought. I curse at the air.

The dark does not scare me anymore, I can light when I close my eyes. I’m shining, on the inside. I hit the wall. I hit it so hard that my knuckles start to bleed. When I open my eyes there’s blood all over my hands, and it’s shining. I sit down. Suddenly a hand touches my shoulder. Someone is locked in here with me. She is looking at me.

She’s lost and scared, just like me. More people gather around me searching for light. I know their faces, but they don’t recognize me. They don’t know that they have light inside them. I try to tell them, but they don’t want to understand. They start to talk to me. Too many different voices resonating in my ears. They are desperate to get out. Someone grabs one of my arms and starts to pull it. Then someone else grabs the other one and pulls in a different direction. We know how this ends. They rip me apart.

They start to hit the wall using my arms and legs, and their fists. The wall falls. They get out like a herd of antelopes running away from danger. I’m left inside there. My body lays on the floor like a puzzle. My mind is slowly fading away. She’s still in there. She gathers all my parts and tries to put it all together. A stranger, yet, she’s worth more than a thousand friends…

David Wade said thanks.

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Robert Tucker

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