Anuradha Mukherjee

6:38 am

Dawn snuck in past the curtains, uninvited yet spreading across every surface, slowly chasing the flimsy shadows away. The phone screen that illuminated my face through the night slipped in importance, my attention shifting to the strange in-between light filling my room instead. My vision blurred momentarily, making room for colour, replacing the static shades of black and grey that had kept me company all night long. 

I could feel the wedge of discomfort in the unseen hollow of my chest as I shifted, adjusting pillows and blankets in the hopes of finding comfort in an itchy bed of unwanted thoughts. 

Thoughts of the future and the past grated and glided against each other, fighting for a moment of supremacy that would push me to dwell on it for the rest of the day, heavy with the weight of regret lived and predicted. I felt the pull of morose morbidity, the need to pick apart every moment with scuffed cutlery, worn out with years of overuse, yet sturdy enough to tear to pieces every decision I had ever made. 

I wanted to blame the stealthy dawn haze, for bringing in a new day and reminding me of the time slipping through my fingers like smoke rising from the pyre of my dreams and intentions. And yet as I felt the night edge away from me, I had to admit to myself that I had let myself steep in the mixture of despair for far too long, to lay the blame anywhere but at my own feet. The turmoil was of my own creation.

I held on to the discomfort for a few more heartbeats, finger wrapped all too tightly around the familiar ache of self-pity and uncertainty. Then slowly stretching my limbs as far as they would go, I buried myself still deeper into my bed, hiding myself away from the thoughts that had insisted on keeping me company at night. I drew the covers over my head and ran my fingers along the spines of happy memories, displayed like a library of ancient texts in my head. Picking one that sounded like sunshine and tasted like the sea, I settled into the reverie as it drew me into its warmth and melted away the tension I’d kept coiled within me. 

The weak beams of daylight grew stronger around me as I left it behind to slip into my city of dreams.