Time passed quickly. I arrived at 5:00 pm and suddenly it was one in the morning; eight hours had passed with little progress. My work seemed to be lost and suffering with the passage of time but I labored and slaved regardless. I had to get it done. When I finally called it quits, I cleaned up my station and left. I had been in and out like a ghost—never seen and never present. My back was hurt but I needed to trek home; I had been gone too long from home and I missed it desperately.
The walk was long and treacherous, not because of danger but because of exhaustion. Only after passing as a shadow through the night and reaching the river did I realize how tired I was. I hadn’t eaten for over twelve hours and now it was coming back to slaughter me. I defended myself and carried through the hunger pains.
The night was eerie and quiet. The town had become a phantom and every action was spotlighted. With every change of streetlights, every passing car, every nocturnal noise, I grew more discouraged. I had to move quickly else I would collapse in defeat. I sprinted through the streets and avoided contact. I was only halfway home.
Now my legs began to wobble. They too were tired and ready to rest but that was a luxury I could not yet afford. Every step was throbbing; every breath was trembling, and every second long. Now I began to think about my family; I would be kept from them by work. I could not afford that luxury either because this work was so important; it was so important that I was becoming a slave to it rather than the master. I knew that my family would be missing me and I them. We would be distant for longer than expected and life could only roll snake eyes for me.
I was not far from home anymore. Still, what would be five minutes now seemed like fifteen. I passed by those bright lights, hobbling past the liquor store. For all that I could see before and for the short distance I had left, I felt a marathon approaching. I could feel my body slowing down; my legs began to cripple and my breath became shallow. My vision became narrow and I sped into my elder years. Time had passed me by and came mocking me as I trudged those last yards. Every window was dim and dark, and all eyes shunned away from me.
Now I was at my door and I made it home. It was dark and desolate and void of life. I was alone with nothing to look forward to. I remembered my lights had gone out and that old pasta was in the fridge. I made a quick bowl and carried it with me to my room. I fumbled around for my lamp and gazed at my situation. My life was a mess and in shambles but still kept together enough to get where I needed to go.
In these moments I would wonder what would have awaited me if things were different. Yet, such thinking was pointless as the “what ifs” didn’t matter because they would never come to pass. My body was calling it quits. I was ready to rest and all I knew for certain, was that tomorrow I would repeat the same process all over again. The pattern, the stubborn habit would be repeated and it was all I had to look forward too.
What do you relate to in this excerpt, if at all? Have you felt like a passing shadow? Leave all your thoughts below.