I wake up and the sky is grey. I open my windows and the cold air strokes my face. A storm is coming up. That’s what the weather forecast said yesterday. And I can already hear the winds howling through the trees, see the trees shaking and the leaves dancing in the sky to the rhythms of the soaring streams of icy air. A storm is coming up. It sounds like a warning, like a threat – that nature is going to show its power over us powerless human beings. I wake up and the sky is grey just like my mind. As if I’m being hit with all the fears and insecurities and doubts and sorrows my life has to offer, all at once. In my mind the storm already reached its climax.
Slowly I make my way into the kitchen, take a cup of the cupboard, fill up the kettle and turn it on, put two spoonfuls of instant coffee in my mug, wait for the water to start boiling. In the meantime I take another look out of the window. Another shade of grey paints the sky now, this time it has more white spots in it than before. I watch a single drop of water running down my window. Sometimes a single tear shed hurts more than a waterfall. My inner storm blurs my view, blurs my perceptions. The days go by and I feel like watching from afar without ever really knowing what is going on, what I do and how I got to this point in my life. All I know is I survived yesterday, so I’ll probably survive today. And yet, a storm is coming up.
I drink up my coffee in a hurry, hoping that the brown liquid will clear my mind for a little while. I grab my keys, shut the door and turn the lock. And, unlike most days, I look at the closed door in front of me. I just closed a door, knowing I can always open it again, granted I don’t lose my keys. But there are so many closed doors in my life I’d love to open but I can’t because my keys don’t fit. And the person on the other side won’t open the door for me. Is he just too afraid? Is he afraid of letting me in, into his place, into his world? He’s the root of my storm. But I feel like I can’t talk to him right now because saying goodbye to him hurts, it just hurts too much. I’d love to skip to the calm after the storm but I’m afraid that’s not an option.
I leave the house and get hit by a sharp gust. It feels like a slap on the cheek as if nature is telling me to wake up and focus on what really matters. Maybe nature is right. Maybe this is nonsense. After all it’s just some random guy. It could have been anyone. But somehow I chose him to be the reason for my daydreams and my sleepless nights, my biggest desire and fear alike. Maybe that was just a hazard. I should ask a mathematician. Maybe they know what love is all about.
In long strides I make my way to the train station. So many people are waiting for something to arrive. We wait but we don’t create, we don’t initiate, we don’t control our next move. My going from here to there depends on a machine, an engine, controlled by a random stranger. The train arrives, I enter and sit down. I look outside and see birds in swarms soaring high. They sense something is up. Do these birds depend on each other? In a way they do – some are responsible for finding food, some protect the group, some choose the direction, plan the next move. In what other areas do us humans not have control over our lives, over ourselves? Does my happiness depend on someone else? I genuinely believe someone else can contribute to your happiness, make you feel better and lighter, but in its essence it doesn’t depend on someone else. You choose what and who makes you happy, whom you let into your life, it’s your decision. But still, I chose him to be the reason for my inner storm.
I arrive at my stop, exit the train and walk up some stairs. Once I arrive outside on the street, the cold wind hits me again, this time it actually feels like the sky is punching me with its extended arm. Alright, I’m up, enough with the gibberish. Will I see him today? Will I have to fake a smile? A storm is coming up. I can feel it on the inside and on the outside.
I struggle to get forward but I finally arrive at work and on my way to my office I greet my colleagues. Do they have inner storms as well? Who causes their not finding any rest at night, who’s not able to think clearly because something or someone is fogging up their mind? I look outside of my window – the sky changed its background colour again, now it’s a dark grey without any white spots and everything looks painfully quiet – the calm before the storm.
I might have to face him today. But I decided it’s time to wake up. Finally. I figured out that while I was giving him everything – my time, my energy -, he was giving me nothing. And I’m done with going home with a broken heart and empty hands. I’m done with investing into shares that will only dissolve into hot air. I’m done with pretending something will change. That he will change. Some things never change. No storm can shake them.
Someone calls my name. I wake up, at last. I take a last look out of the window before leaving my office to join a meeting where I will see him.
The sky is almost black now. A storm is coming up. But I’m no longer afraid. Because I fought a storm yesterday and I’ll fight it today; because I survived without him yesterday and I will survive on my own today.
Maria was listening to ‘Promise’ by Ben Howard while writing this short story.