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Avery Schutt
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"II Faced"

Isabelle Ostert

Calm, warm air surrounds you. Faint sounds of the floor creaking above draws your attention. You open your eyes for the first time in hours, and see the white walls of your room reflecting various shades of black and gray as the sun shines through your curtain. 


The small black box that dictates your sleep schedule sits silently, allowing you the comfort of your bed for just a little longer. You woke up before the alarm, good job. With the extra time you figure you might as well think. You think about what you're going to wear, about the breakfast you could eat, and about everything you have to do this week. You get lost in thought for time that can’t be measured. Somehow those thoughts make your bed seem a little softer, a little warmer, and then ...


"Beep, Beep, Beep,” your alarm cries out from across the room. Only fifteen minutes passed, since you dozed off. 


No big deal there's still time, you think. Rays of radiant light shine through the window now. You look at the pictures distributed throughout the room. With them old memories from years past come back to you: memories from your childhood home, your old school, and other days you won't have back again. Melancholic sentiment fills your mind and your bed becomes a little softer, a little warmer, and then . . .


"Beep, bee--" your snooze alarm goes off again, telling you to wake up. This time it has only been five minutes. Your room is almost fully lit now and you can see the light through your closed eyelids. The white walls reflect a harsh glare back to your tired eyes, and it causes you to keep them shut. Red is what you see now. 


You remember there's school today. You panic, you don't want to show up late, you want to eat, you want to look nice, you want to be a functional person this morning.  


When you try to get up, you can't. You try again, no change. Your bed is too comfortable. You know you should wake up and participate in the day's events. Panicking, you tell yourself, the week won't be that bad; you got this. You remember your father's mantra that he chants every morning in the shower: "eight hours, eight more hours.” Eight hours closer to retirement, eight hours until he's home and can relax, eight hours until . . . 


You think about all the things your parents have to do for some perspective. You don't have to worry about bills, your job, your kid, your wife. Seven hours, seven more hours ahead of you today, and whatever else decides to show up with it. Your bed seems even softer, even warmer, and then . . .


An hour and five minutes passed since your first attempt at waking. You lie to yourself: the cold air outside your bed is inviting. You have twenty minutes to get to school. The comforter on your bed begins to weigh heavier now—trying to hold you down, but you move it aside anyway. You know there's too much to lose by missing the day entirely. After all, missing the day means missing school, social interaction, and opportunity. You force yourself to keep moving. Cold air hits your spine, sending jolts of discomfort throughout your vertebrae. The carpet caresses the soles of your feet as you stand for the first time today, good job. 


After getting out of bed successfully, your internal monologue reminds you, now you only have fifteen minutes to get to school. Time does not allow you the opportunity to shower, so you begrudgingly get dressed for the day. 


Though it wasn’t easy, and there was a considerable amount of internal strife, you manage to get to school on time. As you sit down in your first class of the day you remember, I have to do it all again tomorrow.

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