Ophelia is still staring at the five fingers holding on tightly to her wrist. It was a grip unlike any she’s experienced before. The kind that screamed “don’t go”. And it didn’t feel much like a simple squeeze anymore, or a light suggestion. It was the first time that these long, slim -yet with tatty nails- fingers were begging for her to stay. And all she knew was that she’d have to resolve such choice all on her own.
As every harrowing second passed, Ophelia could feel her head getting lighter. All she could focus on was this ruddy hand. Her eyes don’t sparkle by its touch anymore, but she can’t even fully remember if, or just how, these black, hollow windows sparkled, for that her memory tank is now laying at short distance, though too far away from her, taking into account that she has no intention of moving from her current place. So she instead chooses to trust her gut and believe that the gleaming was once indeed, real. She now even makes an attempt to move away a bit, or turn her torso towards the opposite direction, but it truly feels as if she has completely turned to stone. As if the hand was Medusa herself, and the fingers took the place of the living, venomous snakes. As if there was no escape at all anymore.
Ophelia moved her pupils a bit, knowing that it was the only body part that had been left unfrozen. And as time passed by, they became more and more dilated by the sight of the grip, for it was probably the one and only time they could see beneath the skin- and they only kept on getting bigger and wider. As if they were entering a wholly different time dimension.
And that was when Ophelia saw everything passing by, right before her eyes. So, she finally, for the first time in forever, remembers;
This time. Last year. Before everything. Before the illness.
It was about 6 a.m when Ophelia headed out for her morning run. She’d woken up a bit grumpy, but was certain her mood would instantly light up once she could move like a bat out of hell, lighted by the peaceful sunrise. Indeed, when she reached the grove that she was headed to, she could feel an ideal mix of intensity, yet with dashes of inner peace. She put on her headphones and immediately started to run at the speed of light. And when she’d been running for a solid hour, she decided it was time to give the sun a goodbye stare and head home; after all, she had a big day ahead of her.
Ophelia had been told that the best decisions are made when you’re either walking in, or walking out, hence the metaphor. But for her, her mind would never be as clear as when she was running. You see, she loved running so much because of the momentary sense of complete freedom it gave her. She was the one to decide at what pace she’d run at, where she’d head, and how long this freedom would last- the sole reason she’s always run alone.
She waved the Sun goodbye as her eyes lit up and appeared golden hue before she turned around to head home. She stared a little longer today. As if it were the last time that she’d look.
When she arrived at her little, beautiful house, she played a funky jazz vinyl and run some water to heat it up on the stove, so she could have her first cup of coffee for the day. It was a Saturday. Not her absolute favorite day of the week, but she felt a strange vibe about this one. She sat on her couch, opened the windows so the extraordinary sunlight could sneak in, and started to write. She could go on for hours and hours, and it would always feel as if a single second had passed. So, she spent the whole day absorbed in her notebooks, until she realised it was time to get ready.
As she got out of the steaming shower, trying to clean the mirror, as another jazz record was playing discreetly in the background, she heard her phone beeping. It was her best friend Jeanne, rightfully complaining about her being late once again. She hung up the phone, making rapid movements so she’d finish getting ready as quickly as possible. After a few minutes, she could be seen wearing a beautiful, long,slim fitting, backless black dress with long sleeves, which absurdly matched her honey hair and dark red lipstick. It would have to be around 10 p.m now, and she headed outside to find Jeanne waiting for her. She smiled. Jeanne loudly mouthed a “Finally!”, before she started the car to head to the venue.
“You know we’re as late as it can be, right?” Jeanne cried.
“I do. But you know how I feel about parties, don’t you?” Ophelia smirked, her words more of a statement than an actual question.
Ophelia hated these events so much, that she’d completely forget about them. However, because of her situation as an aspiring writer trying to make it in universe Anamnesis, she couldn’t help but go. Because, if she made the right impression, everyone would remember.
Little did she know how the night would come to an end.
Jeanne parks the car in front of the building, and the slowly enter it, accompanied by the sound of clinging high heels on the floor. The day had started out truly hot- even if it was the middle of the universe’s winter, but it had now become pretty chilly out. As the two girls enter from the staircase, Ophelia can feel a certain pair of eyes striking her. She turns her stare to meet a pair of hollow, dark brown eyes, framed by what seemed an otherwise normal face. She was now compelled by the stare that was resting on her, but kept on walking anyways- until five, long, firm fingers lightly tapped her shoulder.
She turns around.
“Care to join me for a drink?”, the pair of eyes suggest.
Ophelia turns her stare towards Jeanne, who after a few snorts waves her hands in a “fine, go” way.
“I’ll catch up with you soon!” Ophelia promises.
“Sure thing!” Jeanne ironically grunts.
The two strangers head towards the countertop to grab a much needed drink.
“Don’t you have a name?” Ophelia asks the boy with the black hair and matching eyes.
“Not one that matters; for now.” He replies.
“Then we’ll just have to wait for a time that it does.” Ophelia says.
“What if the time never comes?” the gentle voice asks.
“The time always comes.” she answers.
Cecilia was now on her train back home.
She was feeling quite tired both from the exhausting heat wave and the tiring day full of a set of obligations she had faced. But at least she knew she had the best thing to go home to. As the subway opened its doors for her to exit, she caught a brief glimpse of her face. It had become quite weary, hence the level of her exhaustion, but she was still happy with what she saw. She momentarily wondered what it must be like to be unhappy, and felt utterly blessed to not have a single wretched clue.
She got out of the station, and instantly felt relieved by the light breeze that was now stroking her hair. In her walk back home, she even played some of her favourite upbeat rock music to guide her in her direction.
As she turned her key in the doorknob, she instantly heard the heavy, yet impeccably sweet voice of Axel crying her name. She enters the room, only to be welcomed with a kiss and a pair of beautiful green, sparkling eyes.
“I missed you, kiddo.” Axel casually mouths.
Missed you too, you little alien.” Cecilia laughingly says.
“You know, I made you something today.” Axel hesitantly whispers.
Axel was a painter. He was mostly self-taught and always made Cecilia these absurd, yet impeccably fascinating paintings. He thought they were complete horse shit, but took the time to make them anyways. And Cecilia, oh, she couldn’t get enough of them.
Her eyes instantly sparkled when she heard about her favourite artist’s new creation. It’d been a while since he presented her something. And she could barely hold her excitement back.
“Well show it to me then!” She lightheartedly demands.
“Because I know how much you love staring at the sky.” Axel declares, as he uncovers a giant frame, which instantly manages to take his lover’s breath away.
Right in front of her disbelieving eyes, Cecilia witnesses the most beautiful sight she has ever seen in a while. Unable to return her jaw back to its place, and without even bothering to cover her mouth with her hand, she stares at the universe from her living room;
The great, silver moon, lightened up so much that it appeared white, lost in a maze of utter, dark blue nothingness inside the Milky Way, as purple and blue planets in the shape of peculiar flowers surrounded it. And a tiny ship, in the middle of it all, about to enter another dimension. Its passengers remained unknown.
“What should we call it?” Axel’s voice makes her snap out of it.
“ The only thing that suits it.” Cecilia smiles, extending a few beats of silence for effect.
” The Panoptic Blue.”
To be continued…