I wake one day, and the world has gone silent. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I am aware it will not last. Where did everyone go? I know not, but I realize that I have free reign of the world. Upon realizing this, my heart lifts. If no one exists for the moment then what responsibilities do I have? None. Zip. Zilch. Zero. A sigh escapes my lips. Peacefulness in the chaos of living, finally.
Looking around my room I am filled with anxiety. I finally have time to reorganize, but is that how I want to spend my solitude? I don’t know when this bliss will end. I wander around my house, looking for something to eat. That’s when my lab dog, Porter, makes his presence known. I hear the shaking and jingling of his collar as he wakes and stands, performing his morning routine. He wanders out to the kitchen, looking at me pleadingly. Knowing his routine as well as he does, I let him outside, struggling with the sliding glass door for only a few seconds. We really should get that door replaced, I think to myself, the lack of a handle is annoying. And this house is disgusting, I wouldn’t want to live here either…. My mind makes these observations, now wondering where everyone went.
There had been no talk of my parents going anywhere, right? I rummage through my memory, but my thoughts are, like always, scattered. I really need to get that looked at, I think for the thousandth time. I have no idea where my parents went, but I’m not panicking yet. First I perform a methodical search for a notebook or a piece of paper that my mom might have scrawled a message for me on. Or, stars forbid, a chore list. I cringe inwardly during my search, not wanting to do chores on my first quiet day for longer than I can recall.
Finding no paper, I decide they must be at a doctor’s appointment, or even out shopping. I curl up on the couch with a blanket and turn on the television, scrolling through YouTube to find mind-numbing nonsensical videos. Hours later my parents aren’t home yet, and I’m beginning to get worried, so I shoot my mom a text, “Hey- Where are you?” This accomplished, I resettle in my burrito of warmth, but now I’m starting to feel restless, so I switch the input to the Wii and distract myself with Legend of Zelda. It isn’t long before my brain reminds me that I need food to live. I ignore it for a few hours until my stomach joins the chorus with shooting pains of hunger.
Reluctantly I pause my game, frustrated at my body for being grumpy, and rummage through the fridge. There aren’t any good leftovers, so I stalk the pantry. Not much in there either, we haven’t been able to properly go grocery shopping since my dad lost his salary and then his job. I sigh, ramen it is. With a bowl of carbs in one hand, I make my way back to my nest. My phone sits on the arm of the couch. I turn it on, but I have no notifications, which causes a frown to twist my lips and my eyebrows to furrow in confusion and worry. I dial my mom’s number first. It rings, and rings, and rings, and rings, and rings, and rings, and now it’s gone to voicemail. That’s fine. It’s fine, I’ll just dial again. Ring. Ring. Ring. Voicemail. True anxiety causes my chest to contract and squeeze upon itself. I dial my dad’s number, hands shaking slightly. Ring. Ring. Ring. Voicemail. Again. Same result. Again. In the back of my mind, a voice whispers this is the definition of insanity. I ignore it. Again. Nothing. Again. Again. Again. Every time it rings until it goes to voicemail.
Tears well up in my eyes, are they okay? I dial my friend, but the same result. Maybe it’s my phone. No issue, everything will be fine. They’ll get home soon enough. I go to bed at midnight, but I can’t sleep. Pacing around my room, I begin to stress clean, picking and putting with no real goal in mind. I fell asleep around four, and slept most of the next afternoon, waking at three in the evening. I’m up, anxiety flooding my brain, and searching the house, calling the names of my family members. It’s eerily silent except for the sound of my dog’s collar. I let him outside, tears streaming down my cheeks, hot and salty, flooding my mouth, and clogging my nose. I sink to the ground in despair, bawling, once again a child and no longer the composed adult I’ve worked my entire life to create.
The day is spent stress cleaning, crying, and calling my parents every ten minutes, bursting into a new round of tears when it goes to voicemail. By the time the sun has set I have no more tears to shed and I’m utterly exhausted. I’ve made more of a mess than I did clean, pulling things out to organize and clean, then getting frustrated and upset and leaving them. I’ll deal with it tomorrow, I’m too tired to deal with it now.
The next day, I woke up at nine in the morning. I stare at my ceiling for an hour or so. At this point time has lost what little substance it had in my mind to begin with. The day is spent in a zombie-like haze, moving from one task to the other until there is nothing else to clean. Giving up on finding busy work, I go back to bed, defeated by depression. Maybe tomorrow will be different. There is little hope in my heart, but I must hold on to what I can because if I give up I will surely die.
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