Fiction logo

Pause

by Gabrielle "Gabby" Pineda 2 months ago in Young Adult
Report Story

a short-long story

I didn't mind the bold whiff of the black coffee I made this morning. I quickly poured the brew with a copper french press into a mug. With a glance, I signaled to someone across the room if they wanted coffee. They kindly looked and nodded their head and walked away. I awkwardly escorted myself to my dark wooden desk from the kitchen with the mug and a few grams of sugar packets. As I sat in my leather chair, I scanned at my computer and I noticed a message at the top of the screen. ‘Chrissy’, it read in bold letters. Chrissy’s my only friend that I've made so far since I moved here a couple of months back. I started a new life as a journalist, to get away from whatever the past held me back. A new chapter opened, and it started when I met her. She has been there since day one. She’s almost like my best friend. Only now my heart sometimes skips a couple of beats every time I see her, but no one knew how I felt about her.

I clicked on the message. 'A lunch date, tomorrow at 1 pm. Meet me at our usual!'. I let out a sigh, "...but we're just friends". I looked across the office to find her, but no other head in the room matched her light brown hair. I sank into my leather chair with my head tilted to the back, looking up to the ceiling with a light that hangs like a chandelier. Then, I looked back to the screen, and back up again. My hands crossed on my lap and my body felt like it was starting to float. My eyes started to roll back, and naturally, my lids followed.

* * * * *

A certain scent flooded the room. I didn't want to open my eyes, but that smell caught every nerve in my body. My eyes fluttered open, and I still look up into the light. I felt as though I was in a dentist's office. I smelled it again, I smelled freshly baked pastries from the café across the street. Their pastries gave me life and it makes me feel wholesome, and a little hungry. I slowly lifted myself from the chair. I stretched, and yawn for a moment. I wondered how long I had been asleep. Minutes, hours? Who would know? I walked around the office for a while to wake myself up. As I walked around the office, I passed by a blue-shaded window pane. I glanced outside from the building, and there rests a bird on the ledge of the window. “How odd”, I thought to myself. I pecked the window for a response, but the little bird hadn’t lifted a feather. A realization drew across my mind, and I turned to look towards the office. My face went blank. My eyes widened to the fullest extent. The whole office had become a ghost town. Every person, everybody, and everything has gone still. They looked like mannequins.

“Hello?”, I horridly whispered.

I waved my hand in front of a face. I didn’t understand or comprehend what I was witnessing. I panicked and felt my stomach flip upside down. I ran through the building. Through hallways and metal doors, I began panting and deep breathing. Every second became harder to breathe. No one in the entire building was moving.

“Hello?! Can anyone hear me?!”, I yelled.

An echo laps through the halls, and yet again nothing happens. No sound could be heard by anyone else, but my own. Not a single drop of water fell from the spout of the faucet, and no birds were fighting outside in the trees. Then I walked over to peek through the windows, and I couldn’t believe what I saw. My lips quivered, and the hair that ran down my arm stood tall. I started to slowly step back. Then, I made my way to the door. A wind of air brushed against my face and my hair flies as I opened the doors. The glow of the sun setting in the sky blinded me, and there it was-- The whole city was frozen in time. Dare do my eyes deceive me. And I let out a great sigh. “What?!”, I screamed. The streets were deadly quiet, too quiet. A pointed tower in the distance holds a clock that glows at night that continued to tick. Then a long dong rings in my ears and echoes down the streets. It’s 6 pm.

My head was full and filled with thousands of questions. Questions that I didn’t think I could figure out. Why had the world stopped? What happened to me? These questions churned inside me. A panic grew within me again. My heart worries, and it began to beat loudly. It races to the corners of my body, and it keeps beating. I sat steadily on a bench to calm myself down. Across the bench was the sun. It beams and slowly sets into the ocean. As I watched the sun disappear, the street lamps lit up one by one. Nothing has moved yet. The world became uncharacteristically quiet, and now the only sounds I heard were the oceans crashing.

I started up again. As I yawned and stretched, I heard a song. It was faint and its melody cast a familiar voice. I imagined it coming from a music store Chrissy and I visited across the office a couple of times. We looked at many songs together, just to listen to and some to hang in my apartment. I closed my eyes and listened to the tune again. As it plays, I started down the street-- dodging the mannequins, and the cars underneath the street lamps as they lit a path on the street. A woman's voice singing with the melody grew louder. And louder. Then, I slowed my pace as I saw a small light that glistened inside the store and the song continued to play. A soft jazz song, a love song it seemed. I slowly peeked through the window, and my breath fogs the glass. I steadily stepped inside, and there was a little table that held a record player and its vinyl. It spins. The woman in the song hypnotized me.

“Hello?”, I said. “I heard you play this song down the street, and I was just wondering if you know anything. Do you know what happened?”.

Mysteriously, no one answered. I turned into the first shelf of the music store. I shuffled through the cases of songs Chrissy and I viewed. A song caught my eye, and as I lifted it, a man with round glasses and straight hair appeared on the front of a label. John Lennon, a legend and a classic. Lennon was the first artist I listen to since I moved to the city. I never thought that Lennon would be the first one I’d listen to, I always thought it would be someone more significant than that. Chrissy also listened to some of these artists. I thought to myself, Where could she be? Frozen? I just hope she’s okay. I slid the case back in its slot with all the other legends and I continued to scavenge through other genres on the shelf. I walked back to the door for a moment, and I looked outside again. The sun has completely disappeared and the moon lit up the sky with millions of stars.

A loud clatter came from behind a shelf on the other side of the store. “Shoot!”, a voice faintly said. “Hello?!”, I said immediately.

“Come out. Please?”, I asked.

A pair of light sneakers shuffled into the center of the room where the record player stood.

“I’m sorry… Was I being too loud? I was just alone and I wanted to play some songs and--”

The tall girl looked up and caught my eye looking into hers. Her rose-colored glasses glared against the small light that lit the room a little. She dropped the box full of cases with songs she collected.

“Chrissy?”, I stuttered.

“I can’t believe that you’re-- here”, she cried in relief.

We ran into a hug, and we pulled each other into a tight squeeze. My eyes watered. I couldn’t believe that she was-- not frozen?! But, how? Oh, but it didn’t matter how. Not right now at least. She’s here. We sat next to each other close to the light. The light didn’t do us any good to warm us up for the night. She found an old mattress just outside in the ally of the building. We used it for the night, along with a large fluffy blanket to warm ourselves in.

“How did all of this happen?”

“I don’t know, but at least we found each other.”, I said in relief.

We both laughed and talked the rest of the night until we fell asleep... Thank god I wasn’t alone while the whole world paused. Thank god she’s here.

We stayed in the middle of the store with the light in between us and the record player hiding in a corner. Above us was a clear skylight that can bring the natural glow of the store. In this case, we could see the moonshine through with its stars glittering the whole sky. We listened to thousands of albums and songs. Along with the pillow talks and our minds filled to the brim of our heads with curiosity about the unexplainable, but at that moment I didn’t care that the whole world stopped. As long as I finally got to spend it with someone. Chrissy. One question that’s still wrapped around my mind, was why she was the only person I found unpaused. My thoughts couldn’t contain that one question. I rolled onto my stomach as my arms linked together under my chin. Every thought I had felt like the stars that twinkled the whole night, some disappeared and some stayed for a while. I looked over my shoulder, facing the back of Chrissy’s wavy hair. I kindly lifted the blanket to her shoulders and sighed to myself. I went around again. I listened to the last few beats of the song, then my eyes shut for the night.

* * * * *

The blanket streamed off my body, and I woke to her long stretch. I felt that she had turned and stared at my face. One eye lifted, then quickly followed by the other. A grin drew across our faces and a chuckle too afterward.

“Good morning”, I groaned with a stretch.

“Good morning”, Chrissy followed.

We lazily sat up on the thin white mattress that we fell asleep on. The mattress had almost become deflated, close enough to where my legs could touch the floor. I rolled off the mattress onto the stained, maroon floor. As I stood up, I hear her fall back and hum to herself for a moment.

“What?”, I wondered.

“Nothing”, she replied.

She sat up again and played “Your Song”, by Elton John. We began to dance around the room like kids. It was quite the way to start a morning, but it didn’t matter then. Then we perched up against the wide glass window and stared out to watch the sunrise. My eyes bounced upon her face that glowed with the sun and her light brown eyes glistened. She looked into the sky above that had mixed from the deepest blue to the orange-pink horizon that scattered on the buildings. I swiftly turned away back into the sky. Just before I stood up, a grumble raptured.

“Huh, I guess I’m getting pretty hungry. Do you wanna look for something to eat?”, I nervously asked.

“Yeah. I’m getting hungry as well.”, she said.

As we dressed for the day, she pointed to a local market where we could find food from. After all, no one would notice since everything was suspended from the world. She grabbed a backpack with some supplies she thought would be useful. Then, we ran quickly to the other side of the street where the market is located. She darted ahead of me and as I tried to catch up to her, down the street was a hardware store with a digital clock inside a display case. I halted in front of the store. The clock had to beam a red light, blinking for every second. It had written on it-- set to 48 hours, a day, and twelve hours left. What did it mean? 48 hours for what? I became more than strayed. I felt as though I was stuck, clueless. I couldn’t quite figure out why, either. Whatever this illusion of time implied, I was still under this time limit. And now I needed to know why. After I stared at the clock, I caught up with Chrissy. We walked towards the gated entry to the market to find fruits, vegetables, and anything food-related if we were lucky. I had almost forgotten that she knew this place well, and she wanted to venture far into the market to find the finest food here. My stomach rumbled louder again.

“Jesus, how far is this place again?”, I asked.

“We shouldn't be far, it's just up this street. Don't worry, we’ll get there..”, she enlightened.

We walked and passed by thousands of people. They stood like dolls in a giant dollhouse. Some people looked expressionless, while others floated in the air with excitement. Chrissy gradually walked in, and I followed. The pointed gates that led to the market creaked as the wind blew continuously. The frozen people still crowded the area. As we glided through them, our hands quickly locked together so we wouldn’t lose each other. We ran swiftly down on the brick pavement, like brooms dusting the floor. Her hair glowed as the natural light from above captures her waves. We kept running for a few more seconds, and then we leisurely slowed to a stop. Our hands cast away from each other, and my mouth opened in awe. This market expanded larger than it looked from the gates outside. In between the packed buildings was a slope of restaurants and cafes, gift shops, and vintage stores with racks of old clothes and items on the edge of the doors. As we kept walking closer, we noticed this unconventionally pleasing cafe that had two bar tables and stools compressed from metal. The frozen stood in the middle of the doorway of the cafe, holding what seemed to be a hot beverage in their hand. We looked inside over their shoulders in search of something to eat, and on one of the tables laid some bread and soup waiting to be served. Chrissy threw her bag down next to the tables and kindly offered to crawl through the person’s legs to fetch the food inside. She successfully inched her way through the person’s legs. I watched her grab the food from the counter and some water bottles from the refrigerated case. She reached over to the person in the doorway to hand me the food. Then, she went back in and checked the cafe once more for extra supplies we could use. Nothing else seemed to be useful yet. She bustled to the door and as she tried to squirm out through the legs again, the frozen had started to tilt forward. I quickly hovered and ran with my back turned up covering Chrissy. The body crashed onto my back, and a loud grunt rang from my chest as if I were stabbed in the heart. All the weight of the ghastly person was nearly close to falling off my back. Luckily, I caught it back up, but I couldn’t carry it for much longer.

“Chrissy, get yourself out of there, I’ll get this to stand!”, I said.

She scurried along the floor, then in a hurry, jumped back up to help me lift the person off my back. As Chrissy and I lifted them, a scorch of pain on my right shoulder stretched to the bottom of my back burned from the hot tea. I let out a deep, silent cry. I fell to the floor, kindly setting the food down. She sprinted towards me in terror and ripped the back of my shirt. The entire build of my shoulder, and down, was blemished with red. Blisters and bubbles started to form but haven’t burst yet. She ran back to the tables to get her backpack. Then, a thin-pitched sound rang in my ears, and my mind went blank. I was too overwhelmed, and there, I sat, neglecting everything that went around me. She came in with a first aid kit, and a bandage wrap to cover it. I couldn’t tell that she was fixing me up. Let alone see the sorcery she managed to make my shoulder painless. She worriedly snapped me out of my stare and gently picked me up from the ground. She carefully pulled my left arm around her neck and said

“Hey! Don't worry! You're going to be okay!”

We trudged down the street until we could find a place to let me rest. My shoulder felt like a thousand shards of glass stuck on my back. The pain grew back and became unimaginable. The beat red gash down my back had blistered and cracked my skin. My ripped shirt wasn’t strong enough to cover the wrapped, ill-flavored mark on my back, but it was better than not having anything. I was still drowsy, and unknowingly let my head rest on her shoulder as she struggled to bear me. As we kept tramping under the beaming sun, we finally reached a store with white-sheeted beds and mattresses at the end of the street. Chrissy threw the door open and flailed me on a bed. I dropped the food on another mattress. She threw her backpack down, and looked for a bottle of water, Chrissy sat me up to drink.

“Are you okay?.”, she quickly asked.

“I’m getting there.”, I struggled to say.

“I’ll take care of you. Don’t worry you’re going to be okay.”

I stayed silent after that. The gladness that grew from my heart warmed my body and gave me chills. On the other hand, the pain from my shoulder fired the nerves down my spine. As she continued to fix me, I felt that she tried not to panic at the other marks on my back. She did everything she could to make me feel better. She always made everything feel better, to me at least. She looked back at me and took a deep glance at my shoulders. As she finalized cleaning the rest of my body, I looked at the damage, and she said

“I'm so sorry… that I caused this.”

“It's not your fault. And I mean I got you out… that's- “, I said.

“No, I should've gone out of the way. You honestly could have not been hurt if I didn’t move at all.”

Her head dropped in her arms, she then curled herself into a ball. I went over to her. I struggled to use one arm to push myself on the bed, but I hated to see her feel worse about this. I didn't want to see her sad. I sat next to her against the soft headboard. I felt that there was no reason at all to be upset, but I understood where she came from. We looked at each other, her rose-colored glasses fogged, and we sat in silence for a minute. I hated that you felt this way. It’s okay. Really. I sank into the bed and my body drifted into a star on the bed. I tried to look into her eyes, but my shoulder was in too much pain. She noticed me struggling. She suddenly chuckled and said

“You look like a worm”

“I am a worm”, I sarcastically replied.

We both left a chuckle. She sank with me to meet my eyes. As I was staring at the ceiling, I felt her eyes locked on my face. Her head rested on my shoulder and she looked up into the ceiling with me. We started talking about the dreams we had and what life felt like with us, now and then. I went on and on about how different everything was, then I looked over and she had fallen asleep. That whole afternoon, we lay on a fluffy bed with no pillows, or covers, just a bare mattress, and its frame. Everything was so peaceful and quiet. She slept soundly on my chest, and my heart was beating ten thousand times a minute. My eyes and my mind were set to start falling into this deep thought. Then, I started to dream. I wondered and dreamed about the reality I faced in the last 24 hours. I wondered if the world had finally listened today. I also wondered if any other person was able to see the things I could see. I wondered about the universe. Had it given me a chance? Or finally, listened to my thoughts? I don’t know. I still didn’t understand. I threw a deep sigh, and then my body became relaxed. I had fallen asleep on this fluffy bed.

* * * * *

As my eyes opened, there was a glow from the sunset behind the buildings and windows across the street. The light from the sun beamed and cast a shadow of Chrissy in front of me. She stood tall. Her body moved over my face, then I could see hers. She was fixing the bed; setting the bed, surrounding me with pillows, and a towel folded behind my neck. I rose my arm to my forehead, and I felt a streak of sweat catch on my hand. I horridly looked at her, and said,

“Why am I so sweaty? What happened to me?”

“I woke up to you sweating, and you got me a little soaked. I thought you were sick, so I got up and I tried to make the bed for you to feel comfortable.”, she said.

“Oh. Huh? I’m sorry, I’ve never sweated like that before. Anyway, what time is it?”

“It’s almost 6, I should probably let you rest an--”

“Six? Holy shit…”, I mumbled.

She glared at me with confusion written on her face. I turned away. I remembered the clock I found at the hardware store. It was a timer. I sat up and scrambled to the edge of the bed. Chrissy caught me and waited for me to move back. I looked out the giant window, and there was the tower with the clock. As the sunset slowly falls, the light from the clock lightens the city. The street lamps started to glow again. She followed me to the window, and she looked out with me. The clock struck 6, and the sun disappeared. She went back to rummage through her backpack to see if there was something I needed. She looked back and saw me sitting there admiring the stars again. Not even realizing that we had a whole day left before… god knows what. Then, Chrissy asked me,

“Is everything okay?”

“No. Yeah. Just thinking.”, I said.

“About…?”

I didn’t want to say. My heart was beating so loudly that I thought I couldn’t think of what to say. And I didn’t have much time left to say what I wanted to. I couldn’t find the confidence to say anything, so I said nothing at all. I hid behind my teeth and said nothing.

“Just the stars.”, I said.

Why did I just say that? Why couldn’t I admit it to you? Maybe because I felt like an idiot, just as how I felt two years ago.

* * * * *

Two years ago, I admired someone. She was bright, courageous, and so nice. I made the mistake of telling her I--. It was too painful to remember her. I used to always see her before I did everything else. I hadn't realized that my craving grew stronger every day that I saw her--. Then, there was a point when I took myself too far from a simple conversation to an investigation about my well-being went downhill and it started with me. I fell under the impression of a relationship I fantasized about in my head, and I thought I was smart enough to realize that it was dumb. To feel like I could like someone as wise as her, I was dead wrong. I regretted it so much that day, and I wish I could turn back and fix the damages. But I was too late. I lost her. The more I thought about what happened, I couldn’t help but feel like I couldn’t love any different. That’s how different I felt when I thought about you. I felt like an idiot for this very reason, but also because I couldn’t own up to saying how I feel about you. I didn’t want to lose you.

She walked over to me, she could tell that there was something on my mind. She wouldn’t take my silence for an answer, so she asked me again. I didn’t want her to know, but I hated to lie. I struggled to explain the timer and limit we had left. Along with the world being paused, that remains a mystery to us. She finally sat next to me and took in what I said. I quietly waited for a reply, but we perched silently on the window for a while. Her head turned to face mine, and without saying a word, she gave me a light hug.

“What’s this for?”, I asked.

“Just something I needed, and because I’m glad you told me. Not to consider that it was last minute, but it’s okay.”, she said.

My shoulder made it difficult to hug her back, but she knew what I intended to do.

“So, what are we gonna do in less than twenty-four hours?”

“There’s so much we can do.”

We brainstormed about the things we could do for a while. From climbing on top of buildings to talking about painting a mural on the side of one. As we brainstormed we ate some food that we stole from the cafe on the floor in the middle of the room. Once we finished, we talked about why we thought the world paused.

“No, but what if it was because of an apocalypse. Or even someone who time traveled.”, I suggested.

“Hm… maybe. What if global warming became a real thing now and the world stopped and was like ‘I can fix it.’”, Chrissy said.

We laughed about the endless possibilities that could have potentially caused the world to stop, for hours. As we finished Chrissy guided me to the bed that was fixed for me. She laid me down next to the pillows that were placed in a row at the edge of the bed, and she sat up beside me. She helped me change the bandages from the sticky wound down my entire back. The flesh of my skin bubbled and blistered. The pain was numb, I couldn’t feel much on my back. After she replaced the bandages, she set her stuff on the side where her backpack was. Chrissy lead my body to sink into the bed, and she followed right beside me. I wished we had the music from the music store, it felt like the perfect time to listen to our favorite songs. At the same time, I wasn’t sure if I should tell her how I felt about her. Instead, we sat on the bed talking about the world, until morning broke. We fell fast asleep on each other, linking hands and her head was on my body. I could feel her breathing pattern, soft and consistent.

* * * * *

The sun rose into the sky, and all of the buildings bounced the colors off the walls. The light blue and pale white clouds flung across the sky, and the ray of golden colors shined through the giant window. The light continued slowly to move up my skin and then beam onto my face. I woke to the sun blinding me. I turned away from the light, and there was her face. Peacefully, and delicately I moved a strand of hair that lapped over her face. After a single stroke, she slowly started to wake up. She noticed that I was awake too, then we looked at each other for a moment. I couldn’t help but stare at her. My. Oh my. I think I felt my heart skip a beat. The butterflies in my stomach danced around a little. Chrissy saw the dark brown complexity in my eye and she grinned with me. Then, she looked down at my shoulder and said,

“Oh. My god. I could’ve done so much better than that. I’m sorry.”

“No… you did fine. You’re fine. It’s honestly okay.”, I said.

She quickly sat up on the bed and crawled over to the other side of me where my shoulder lay. She examined my arm thoroughly to make sure I was doing alright. She looked back at me again, and she grabbed my other arm to sit me upright on the bed. Then, she unwrapped the bandages that tangled through my whole body. Unpleasantly, the skin from my body latched on to the wrap and became stuck against each other, removing the skin as the bandage comes off. She added more ointment to the blemishes down my back to heal the skin. Finally, she grabbed my arm again. This time she stood me up next to the bed, placing large patches of bandages on the wound.

“Feel any better?”, Chrissy asked.

“Never better. At least I think I can walk a little.”, I replied.

I noticed inside her backpack, was empty. She used up most of her supplies to fix me and my wound. She didn’t have to, and I felt bad that I couldn’t do much to repay her. Chrissy assisted me around the room for a while. The first few steps felt like a walk on the moon. While the rest felt like I was soaring. My body ached, and a trail of grunts spitted from my mouth. It was much harder than it seemed, to walk around a room with nearly half my body in shock. I felt like a showcase horse that’s been tamed and walked around the fence, continuously in a circle until it had given up. Slowly, she began to let her arms slide away. At the end of my route, so much relief rose from my body. I couldn’t thank her enough. After a long time, we would be able to do whatever we wanted for the next few hours. Chrissy gathered our things together and wrapped my shoulder once more so we could start moving. I managed to walk, and hold, the doors of the mattress store. As she piled our things together, she ran out. I shut the heavy door. Then, a roll of wind blows, and whistles down the street. Chrissy was down on one knee, organizing our stuff and fitting it into her backpack. I looked above us, the sky went from a clear blue to a gloomy yellow-green. I couldn't tell what today was going to be like, but it wasn’t like any other. There were several reasons why I thought the sky seemed different. One is that it was about to rain, and another is that the world was about to resume back to reality. There wasn’t much time left either way. From afar, the tower with the glowing clock at the top shone brighter than usual. It started to flicker as the sky turmoiled into this unfamiliar color. She pulled my hand in the other direction. It was time. We ran down the street, and down alleyways to other streets like portals. I remembered feeling like a kid with their arms out like an airplane. Flying over thousands of people and covering the ground. Chrissy was right beside me the whole time. Her eyes closed and she felt the wind rush on her face as she ran. I turned over to see her wavy hair flow like the ocean waves. I remembered hearing her exceptionally loud laugh and her broad smile. I remembered being dawned on by that smile. I turned back around. We kept running, and we never looked back.

Shortly, there was a large city park up the street. The park was filled with trees of different sizes and leaves that covered the grass. Also, there was a lake in the middle. Large enough that you could catch fish in them. Lastly, a trail that looked like a snake, and reached as far as the other side of the park. At least a mile, or more. We walked in, and I felt as if I stepped into a whole other universe. It had so much character and livelihood from the rest of the world. It was gorgeous. She took me by the hand and ran with me on the trail. She let go, and there we ran as fast as we could to get to the other side. As we ran along the path, I took a long overview of the park on top of a small bridge over the lake. People fish, fly kites, play games, and relax under the sun. Animals, too, were having fun before the world paused. I went back to the trail. Chrissy came back running back to me. And without looking, we recklessly bumped into each other. She worriedly got up and helped me stand. She almost forgot that I was injured on my shoulder, but I didn’t mind that she crashed into me. On the rest of the trail, we managed to walk out through the gates on the other side of the park. I sat on a bench to catch my breath, and to our right was a tall building, and some restaurants to the left. We first walked around to find a place to eat. Down the street was a bar, and a small diner at the corner. Chrissy went over to the diner to look for some food. As she left to scavenge for food again, a rumble of thunder sounded in the distance. I quickly stood where I was, then I tried to listen again. The thunder continued. The atmosphere became slightly dense, and the sky changed again. A small swirl shaped in the clouds. I started to worry that a bad storm was going to form, and she would be stuck in the diner alone. I walked over to the diner. Step by step as I continued to watch, and listen, to the thunder. Once I was inside, she was already behind the counter picking food for us.

“Oh. Hey! I thought you were going to wait outside? What are you doing in here?”, she asked curiously.

“Yeah. I was, but I heard thunder outside. And I got worried that it was going to get worse, so I thought just to stay inside.”, I said.

Not even knowing that I went inside because I was worried about her. She stared at me with uncertainty, but she couldn’t quite make out whether to roll with it or be worried. I walked to the counter, and I looked over to see what she’s found so far. On the table below, was just a plate full of food. The kitchen was locked so we couldn’t find any more to eat. We, then, decided to just start sharing a plate instead. Chrissy climbed over from the bar table and sat right next to me. I grabbed the plate, and we began to feast on the little plate of food. Luckily it was just enough to appetize us. Afterward, we left the diner and headed to the tall building across the street. The sky outside was still the same as when I first left for the diner, and the thunder continued to rumble.

We stopped in an alleyway right beside the fenced building, and then we went to look for access to get inside. I went over to the back and there was a door. An old, blue, rusty door that was opened by a wooden wedge in front of it. And through the door was a long, dark hallway that led to light at the end. As Chrissy and I walked, the light grew larger. Once we reached that doorway, the light peered through broken windows and giant holes in the wall. Along the wall were stairs that led to the next floor. We walked in further and we explored for a minute. This place used to be an old factory, and now it’s being reconstructed into a business facility. There were frozen people, standing next to a fire in a barrel to warm up, some in the other room getting drunk, and some making graffiti artwork on the walls. She walked up the stairs first, then I followed. There were a few more levels that we had to cross to get to the rooftop. As we continued to follow the stairs, the wind howls against the walls. I wondered what it looked like outside. Our legs started to feel like jello, and as tired as we were we had to keep pushing.

After a while of torment, we made it to the last few levels to the rooftop. By this point, we had almost given up and started to crawl the rest of the way up. I felt the breeze from the vents on the ceiling, and we were getting close. Finally, there were a couple of steps left and out the door was the top. Through the metal, the door was a mini greenhouse. Inside stored flowers, and plants with some fake grass at the bottom. Across the thick glass, a shed was another door that led us outside. As we walked to the door, I noticed the world outside. The dark clouds formed over the blue, and the swirl that formed in the sky vanished. Chrissy waited for me at the door. I grinned and walked over to her. A hard breeze hit me as I walked outside. She caught me by the arms, and she helped me move towards the edge of the building to see the view from above. I faced down the entire time, watching every step so I wouldn’t lose my balance. She told me to look up. Then, the wind calmly blew softer. I was able to open my eyes and see the city from above. I took a long gaze at the view. I could not have imagined seeing the city look so precious from here, let alone look so clear. Through the dark shadows of the clouds, a patch of light appeared. Then, little patches of light shone through the clouds. I felt like I was in a wonderland. I turned around to look at her. She stood right beside me, and I felt her hands in mine. She rose our arms up, and we screamed at the top of our lungs. We sat down right where we were, and from there we watched the sky clear up and the sun setting behind us. On the other side was the moon, and it starts to rise from the horizon. I looked closely at the buildings, and a little below us was the tower with the clock. It was almost 5. I turned to look at Chrissy and she sat there, looking out to the distance. Her hair was pushed back from the wind, and her eyes glowed from the sun behind her. I couldn’t help but stare. There were a million ways that I could say that she’s beautiful, but for now, I’ll just say that she’s inspirational. She caught me staring at her, and I nervously chuckled. She looked at me and saw that I was fiddling with a rubber band on my wrist. She knew I had something on my mind, just by the way I looked down all of the sudden caught her attention. I did have something on my mind, and that was whether I should tell her that I like her. Then she asked,

“Is everything okay?”

“It’s just-- we have thirty minutes left…”, I hesitated.

“And I--”.

I choked. I think I’m going to say it. Am I finally going to admit it? Holy shit, what do I do? What do I even say? I couldn’t hide what I felt for weeks. I needed it to come out. My heart was beating out of my chest, and I began to stutter,

“I did have something that I wanted to tell you…”

“What is it? You can tell me, it’s okay.”, she replied.

“I-I… I think I’m in love with you…” I sputtered from my mouth.

She held a pause for a moment. I quickly looked, and turned, my body away. I almost felt embarrassed that I said something, but at the same time, I felt relieved. I was embarrassed at the fact that I was too fast, and had that gutted feeling that I regret what I said. We sat in silence for a moment.

Twenty minutes to go.

I sat at the edge of the building and waited for a reply. She hasn’t said anything yet, which made me begin to worry. I’ve never felt this insecure about someone. Maybe because I’ve never liked a girl once. Was I too fast? Did I say something that triggered her? I--? Chrissy got up and sat beside me. Eventually, after looking at the breathtaking view she said,

“Time’s running out, and I should probably say what I have to say, too.”

The thunder laps from afar.

“Go on...”, I said.

“I like you too, but I need to think. Don’t think that I hate you, or that you made a mistake in telling me. I’m glad you told me, but I just need time to think about what I want first. ”, she explained.

She looked at me, worried as if she made a mistake.

Ten minutes left.

“Oh..., but you like me?”, I questioned.

“Well, yeah. You’re one of my very close friends, and all the things I tell you, I’ve never told anyone about. But for now, we’re best friends. I may, or may not, have thought about a relationship, but I need to think about it for a while. ”, she said.

“I just- I didn’t know how you’d react about it. I feel like I messed things up, now that I said it-”, I said.

“Nothing about you is going to change the way I feel about you. Regardless. You are amazing, and such a good person. I genuinely feel, and mean, that. Please, don’t beat yourself up about this.”, she added.

All these words wrapped around my head. I fell into this rabbit hole, and I couldn’t choose whether to let this part of me go. I met her eyes. We both stared at each other. Her eyes glistened through her rose-colored glasses as the light captures the essence of her image. Another ray of light from above landed on my face. I could imagine my dark brown eyes amid the blinding light. When the clouds covered the sun again, the moon ascended further into the sky.

5 minutes.

The world was almost awake, and there we were. Sitting side by side, and watching the world fall back into reality. I didn’t want to let her go. Not like this. I wished that there was more time to explain and understand why the world paused. Why did you pause?! Chrissy and I glanced at each other again.

“I don’t think I’ll ever love you the same way as I did for these past two days.”, I confidently said.

“Wha- what do you mean?”, she asked.

I took a hold of her face, and I kissed her. A single tear fell from my eyes. She clutched my face and removed herself from the kiss. She felt the teardrop on her thumb and wiped it away. She kissed me back. Then, I had to let go.

“I think it’s time. I don’t want to lose you like this either. I love you. Goodbye.”, she sadly whispered.

“Goodbye.”, I cried softly.

White blinding light radiated the entire world, like a thick misty fog in a forest with tall trees. The light shined so bright that nothing could be seen. Chrissy and I held on to each other for dear life, and our eyes were completely shut. The light kept glowing brighter, and whiter than the moon. All of the sudden, everything was blank. I felt my arms still latched around her, but she wasn’t there. I opened my eyes and nothing was there.

* * * * *

I felt my head tilt over to my shoulder. I picked it back up right at the top of the chair. My eyes were still shut, and my fingers were clasped on something. What was it? Where am I? I tried to open my sticky eyes. Tears fell from my face, and finally, my eyes opened. I felt the dilation in my vision blur and then became clearer. The hanging light right above my head frightened me. I pushed my head down and placed my hand over the crick on the back of my neck. Then, I glanced at both of my hands. They were shaking. I rapidly stood over my desk. I looked around the room, it seemed different than before. What happened before? A worker trampled against my chair, startling me as I sat down. The building wasn’t quiet anymore, and everyone was working. It was busy.

I was back to where I was before I fell asleep, and it seems as if time hasn’t changed at all. I reached over to my computer, and on the screen was the message Chrissy sent to me earlier. I remembered this part; I fell asleep in my chair, then… something happened while I was asleep. On the other side of the screen was another message that popped up. It read: ‘I did it for you. What do you think will happen tomorrow?’, from anonymous. Who was this? What did it do to me? I sat back in my chair trying to configure a piece of myself that was missing. My mind went spinning in an endless motion that continued as a record. Like a record. Abruptly, flashes of a warped time mixed in my head. Then, I remembered. The universe, Chrissy, and time itself paused. I remembered all the little things that happened. Especially, my shoulder. I quickly undid my shirt to check, and thankfully nothing was there. All these memories, and feelings, rushed to the peak of my brain and back. Water began to fall from my eyes. My heart was the last to be touched, and it sank a little. At the bottom of my heart was a slight bit of hope left for me, just enough to love again. Once more, I scanned the office. I nervously looked for her and there, I found her at her desk. A glimpse of her light brown hair, and the rim of her rose-colored glasses. I stood from my chair again. Tall and proud, I was glad to see her. Chrissy noticed me stand. She waved to me from a distance and went back to work. I felt that something was off, and I guess, that being, she didn’t know what happened to us. I slowly sat back down in my seat, realizing that it was a dream. It hurts me that she wouldn't know how much she truly meant to me. Even all the things I told her. Gone, just like that. All I had left of her, was her, and this memory that only I could remember. I would never forget that dream; when I fell in love again. Although she didn’t know, I thought about devoting myself to starting over. Open a new chapter with empty pages, fill them with new experiences, and a chance against what the universe has to offer. It didn’t matter what I had to do to get there, as long as I had the time to get where I wanted to be. I wanted to open this new chapter and give this chance to you, C.

The end.

Young Adult

About the author

Gabrielle "Gabby" Pineda

(they/she) | 20

hi! just starting out on my writing journey on this site and would like to share a piece of myself. much love, g.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments

There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.