A Midnight Crisis

A Midnight Crisis

Raksha Narasimhan | Art by Catherine Hwu

He jolts awake in the pitch black of the night, but as he sits up he is not sure whether he is awake, asleep, dead, or in another state of consciousness altogether. The blinding layer of black envelops him, trapping him aside from the blinking numbers on his digital clock. The screaming silence of the night suffocates him. 

But as he sits upright, it is as if a small part of him has been hollowed out. Something in his mind had tricked him into believing in those unrealistic dreams, his false hopes that maybe things would change for the better with her. But those things never were and never would be. 

The pit turns into a sort of ache, and he collapses back onto his bed, staring up through the layer of blackness that seems to be omnipresent. As he closes his eyes, fragments of his visions from the night appear into his mind like reminders that he will never have her. 

He sits back and lets all the memories about her flow in. The way her hair swished–the hair that wasn’t quite brown but actually more reddish when the sun’s rays cascaded upon her. The green eyes that her boyfriend made fill with tears far too often. 

There were plenty of wonderful times as well, times where they we nothing but blissfully close best friends. A grin flickers on his face as he reminisces in their walks home from school. He wasn’t much for talking–more of a listener, really. She would complain to him about her friends, and she would convey her giddy excitement over every petty thing that happened to her. He would just chuckle and walk along, occasionally chipping in with an opinion or short anecdote. She was so full of life, so fiery and filled with passion. Being in her presence gave him life, too, but there was a burning desire within him for something more. 

As he recalls all of the memories they shared, however, the rotten ones seep through like vines of evil tarnishing their purity. The day the sharp pounding on his front door had jolted him awake; the day his clock had flashed the time 3:04 a.m. as he tiptoed out of bed quietly so as not to wake his parents. He had slipped on his robe and stumbled to the door, for the continuous knocking had begun to give him a headache. 

He peeked out the door and saw a girl with reddish-brown hair. Her nose was pink and her green irises contrasted sharply with the bloodshot remainders of tears. She shook violently, and he opened the door just as she raised her hand to knock again. 

As he opened the door, she collapsed into his arms, mumbling incessantly about how her boyfriend had hurt her, about the words he had flung at her and the fight that had ensued. 

But he was done. He was done being just her best friend, done being the one who would always comfort her before she set out to make yet another irrational decision. He stiffened and pushed her off of him. Hey eyes widened and her eyebrows raised, and she backed away like cornered prey. 

He opened the door and gestured out, because seeing her once more was just another reminder of his failures to act upon his feelings and of the friendship that would never amount to something more. 

And he now sits in his lonely bed, flicking on the light and picking up a picture frame of a girl with reddish-brown hair and green eyes, reminiscing on all that they once shared. Because that night, she had disappeared into the oblivion of the black night. And she had never come back.