A Cloudy Day
I’m getting ready to leave the house. My car keys are hooked to my belt and I hear them jingle as I walk towards the handbag hanging off the back of my bedroom door. I double check I have all my items: wallet (emptier than I’d like) phone, lipstick for post-meal application and compact mirror. I glance fleetingly at my reflection in my floor to ceiling to mirror. I give her the okay and leave my room.
Im sitting in the car with the engine idling away. Priority number one is to choose adequate driving music: The A List Pop Playlist. Once content with my soundtrack, I put the car into gear and join the masses.
I’ve safely parked myself at the local mall. The short drive over rendered my palms clammy and my heart rate reached dangerous levels. It’s 60km p/h don't they understand? I make my way towards the automated double doors and the artificially cool air washes over my face. And immediately I know, I should have stayed home.
I find myself amidst pretty garments of assorted colours. I thumb their fabric, but quickly back away when I notice their price tag. I take a step backward ad bump a woman behind me. She apologises in the same way I do: a small bashful smile and a hasty getaway. And it’s here that my clouds start form.
I know they’re coming by the way my peripherals seem to blur more than usual. My eyes focus only on what’s in front of me - a sort of tunnel vision. At the same time everything becomes hyper sensitive; the colours brighten and every sound is amplified. The people around me seem to move faster than I can keep up with, and with every breath I take, I feel more like an exposed nerve.
I’ve walked around the department store, avoiding the labyrinth of technicolored shoes and sparkling cocktail dresses. I see the expressions on people’s faces and I wonder, “they look so angry, I must have done something wrong.” So I keep walking, trying to keep the pace and out from beneath the looming storm clouds, but everyone is in hyper speed and my shoes are made of steel. Eventually I feel like I’ve walked so fast I’ve run out of breath and I know the rain will soon begin to fall. So my heart rate quickens, and my lungs can’t draw air fast enough for me to keep up. My forehead burns with worry but my feet go numb with the chill setting in all over me. It has started to pour.
I’ve made my way out of the store and into the openness of the mall. Every movement feels like an attack, and every look seems to be directed my way. I feel open, vulnerable and on the verge of tears.
I refuse to leave the mall. Not because of all the gorgeous items, but because I am better than what is happening to me. I look up to face the black nebula hovering over me and I give it a smile. Hello wretched nemesis. I give my arms a stretch and tilt my head backwards, drinking in the downpour as it drenches my mind. I let it come, and it barrels down upon me like there has been a drought. I can do nothing to stop it, except accept it and try to keep standing.
I’ve continued to walk around aimlessly, trying to observe while simultaneously holding a metaphorical umbrella over my body. I stop to notice the fragrance department, and then meander to the sunglass aisle. When I am finished, the rain has stopped and I haven't even noticed. I take down my umbrella and shake the water from my thoughts. I can hear things in real time, and the light refracts at a normal speed.
I am back at home, tossing my keys on the bench and slinging my bag off my shoulders. I have survived the clouds. I am better than them.