Clutching the edges of the icy marble sink, I exhaled heavily. Ochre fingers gone pale and mauve lids snapped shut; I gnashed my upper incisors into my bottom lip, which acted as a barrier between the two rows of calcium-strengthened teeth in my mouth. I could not feel anything, the pain was nothing, it meant nothing. Reluctantly, I opened my cocoa eyes and, with a wince, stared straight into the mirror ahead. I slowly traced my swollen face, momentarily lost in thought. My eyes were brilliantly bloodshot, my dark complexion had gone ashen, my nose was abnormally red and my chapped burgundy lips were conveniently bleeding. I watched myself die a little every passing day and remained neutral. I was a falsely accused psychopath barely struggling in my straitjacket, a vicious and vivacious lioness declawed, a faltering show of fireworks in the morning of the first of January. A choked sob struggled up my trachea, painfully suspended in my voice box. My eyes welled up with salty water, threatening to gush forth as I feebly attempted to hold the tears back. Ultimately, streams of saline water escaped my eyes as I gasped for air, an appropriate embodiment to the train of negative thoughts forming deep in my head.
A bristly gust of wind entered through the chestnut-paned window, reminding me of the unforgiving winter nights. Inhaling sharply, I dragged myself to the opening in the room, followed by the ominous sound of my battered boots against the rigid wooden floor. I poked my disheveled head out into the frigid December air and closed by lavender lids, savoring the frosty weather, fully aware of my subjection to hypothermia. This scene could have easily induced a panic attack in a cheimophobe like my Australia-residing sister but honestly, who cares? Fluttering my lids open, I gazed into the light morning sky, faintly glittering with distant stars, and think of how long winter nights and loneliness are a package deal, a deal no one in their right mind would agree to.
The stars’ withering luminance reminded me of my own, which only seemed to falter each passing day. I had repulsively been wallowing in self-pity and despair throughout the past month, blaming the world for my own mindless mistakes. Fuelled by revulsion, I heaved my exhausted body off the windowsill and grabbed the burgundy coat swinging lifelessly on coat rack. As I slipped my numb sienna arms into its velvet armholes, I marched towards the door leading to the street. On my way out, I clutched the lonely umbrella leaning against the slate wall and snapped it open. Holding it above my head, I exited into the vapid December air.
There was nothing particularly distinctive about this day: it was typically bleak, disheartening and carried a sentimental kind of aura. The cadet sky had begun shedding its precious tears, which only meant one thing: impatient and dispirited civilians. Walking aimlessly amongst despondent pedestrians, I bumped into a tall male in a fine coat, a shade of maroon similar to mine. Unjustifiably unable to apologize, I stared into his prominent eyes, my insipid chocolate boring into his vibrant cerulean. Flashbacks of my childhood passed fleeting through my tired brain; my stunning mother running after me around the backyard, my handsome father playing soccer with me in the front lawn, my caring older siblings hissing warnings at me whenever I dared to defy my parents, my schoolmates singing me a happy birthday when I turned eight. Gazing into his dark eyes, I could not help but feel pure joy. His mere presence seemed to induce happy recollections in my worn-out mind. He halted wordlessly and lifted the right side of his cerise lips into a slight, ironic smile. Yearning an unexplained non-existent past including him, a wave of nostalgia washed over me. Who was he? He blinked his lashes once and muttered a quick apology, his deep, familiar voice reverberating through my icy bones. I nodded my freezing head once and continued down the granite pavement. I sped down the sidewalk, blissfully reminiscing while slowly slipping into an inevitable trance. As my consciousness faded, I felt my heart pound with adrenalin, hoping for another accidental encounter with this intriguing stranger. In spite of my heart’s pathetic desires, my dazed brain was fully aware of how far-fetched that was. It didn’t matter if those thirty seconds happened to change my mood to the complete opposite, I knew that it was one-time thing, a reminder that I am more than my fleeting emotions. And I was right.