Life Days Before

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Life Days Before is a story written by Greg in early 2004. (Source) It was posted to his Mr Odd site and later, his Onision site.


As I look into this reflection on the wall, I think of all the things past, my life, once so beautiful and full of content emotions, smiles, love. I don’t like the idea of living in the past, and maybe such a fallen reality has been glorified by a distorted perception of myself… But maybe just once I should live there… maybe it would not be a terrible contradiction. Maybe just this once? I look up at my reflection as it grows younger, as this mirror changes into the only one I knew in those days, as the air turns fresh, and the pure color returns to my now youthfully rounded face.

I’m there again, how I live this life once more, only a tear can recall the change. Wiping my face, I walk into the front room, the wooden floors turn my warm feet to the cold. My mother has blonde hair, she had never changed it yet, only once from brown. With a smile she asks me why I took so long in the bathroom, and my sister makes the suggestive hand motion. Then I did not even know what she was talking about, I take long showers, I think about life in the bathroom, I always have.

I look around to see the wide windows embracing the light from the outdoors, it is warm from the sunlight’s glow, and I see it shine off of Seuss Creek just inside my eyes’ grasp.

Walking out into the grass aside my house, I feel the blades slide in between my toes, and I smile closing my eyes. Auburn has always been my home, I hope it always will be. I open my eyes from hearing the comforting breeze softly grace my face and I turn my head to witness our chicken coup. The rooster is still alive, the hens still peck at what’s not food, and the eggs have not yet piled up it to a deathly stench reminding us of our irresponsibility.

I move towards the chickens, I want to see them again so close, witness their random motions, their random lives. Squatting down I can see the bugs that the hens seek, pecking randomly so they can eventually find the bugs I see immediately before me. I point to one, and tap my finger to draw attention. As usual, the rooster hates anything that goes near his hens, and chases after my hand, forced through the silver wire.

Pulling back, the rooster misses my finger, and smashes the bug, how truly interesting our alternate intentions coincided for that one moment in time… these moments I hope will never leave my senses. Stay forever.

Standing now, I walk over to the rusted Toyota Corolla… my future self knows the year, yet I don’t want to remember him, not yet. I slide my hand across the back end of the beaten yet strong machine. Suddenly a thought crosses my mind beneath the endless sky of comfort, and my day becomes brighter.

Mom and Papa never divorced… Mom and Papa still live in my house, they still love each other, and we still have a decent TV.

Running back into the house, I flip on the Television, scratchy fuzz cracks across my ears and eyes as I adjust the small antennas above the black Sony box. Eeek the Cat is on! I watch until the sun turns to the corner of the sky, and a commercial comes on about some critically acclaimed book… I wonder if I’ll ever read anything other than Goosebumps, this “Where The Red Fern Grows” book seems ok… but no pictures?

I turn the TV off, and realize my regained younger youth is going to waste. Frustrated by my own weakness to fall into the animated pictures in the box sitting on our cabinet made of logs, I leave the house once more, not caring of the black and white tiled kitchen, not caring of my bed hanging above the furnace, just leaving as I always did, to come back when my eyes started to slide down the hazel circles, empty of orange dots.

I look towards the sun’s orange glow over the trees, how truly wonderful it makes me feel. Now sitting on the lengthy grass, I look over to see the flowers unharmed by the time the chickens got out of their coup, or when the dog felt like digging one more pointless hole.

I see tulips, roses, and even a tree standing near, the tree we had planned on making a Christmas tree one day, but never did because we feared losing… changing anything about our self-defined paradise… my paradise at least.

The sun is falling in the sky, and we are losing the sun for the nights’ duration. The calm glow of this place makes me wish I was the creek with an endless flow in the same place for inevitable years to come, or a rock in the mound of rocks that leads to where the Toyota is parked, or even just another blade of grass, for their future is far better than mine, they won’t soon lift a finger in need of survival, beg for a day of rest, or leave the place they love. The home they feel is a part of their very personality… their essence.

Looking down sadly, I walk inside, and wonder where the others are. Fading in from nothing, the noise of arguing swallows the room’s silence; my Papa is sitting at the table with fork and spoon hand-in-hand. My sisters are slamming the door on one another forgetting they sleep in the same bunk bed, and my Mom is doing what she rarely does, she’s cooking carrots, making a salad, and steaming broccoli, a true relief from the sourcrought days.

My sisters settle down as my mom yells for them to come and eat. We sit at the table, prayer-less because we know paradise needs no prayer nor god to make us happy.

Finishing up our meal, we the siblings edge our eyes around towards one another, wondering who is going to hand wash every last dish tonight. And tonight, I did not hear my name called, so I gladly walk into my room and close the door with a thank you following the meal in my mind.

I climb up the ladder to my bed and turn on the florescent light on my head board. I see the scratches in my post. “I love Auburn” “833-4204” and other marks my memory has not recently reminded me of.

I then recall, I then see, this world I have is just a figment, just a hope too far away to grasp, but I won’t let it go, what I have in this world is far better than the other. No worries, no broken hearts, no tears over the last failure, or the shattered dreams of a respectable father.

Tonight I will think of the days tomorrow, but not years down the line, for I am forever young… it must be forever. Tomorrow I will visit my cousin down the gravel road, and we will explore the trees as we always did, we will play games outside, and see who can climb the rope swing. I can’t wait till tomorrow, and so I calmly close my eyes.

I wake to look in the mirror once more, I lasted the night! Still young, still happy… but now I grow taller, the orange spots in my eyes are returning, my smile is fading away, and my cheeks turn to a more chiseled figure. Looking down I realize it’s all gone again, and I am in the condominium, the city as we saw it to be, more than 500 people in our neighborhood, I wish it was less than 30 again… But no, I’m in 8539, condo 73, off Zircon drive. I have one large bill each month, and I once again have to worry of school, social issues, and how tomorrow is just another day of monopoly or work… Monopoly is one of the things in life I still smile about… but every play comes the chance to lose, and every smile has a chance of frown.

I think of how far I have gone in life since Auburn, and I am not disappointed. Although I have broken hearts, and nearly impossible dreams, I’m still trucking towards the future, devoid of suicidal feelings, and working for ever day following to be a little brighter.