Grow Up and Blow Away

This started out as a bedtime story and I liked the story so much that I re-wrote it.  Tried to add the writers flair.  Does it hold up?  The idea came from a combination of the album title from a Metric CD and the Chinese idea of the red string of fate.

Grow Up and Blow Away

It started as any other day would.  He laid in bed awake staring at the alarm clock on his bedside cabinet.  He saw the red numbers hit the magic combination of 7:13am.  The alarm started to blare the familiar tone.  He tapped the snooze button gently and proceeded to get out of bed and greet the day with a sigh and a shake of his head.  The man started his daily routine.  Cooked the same mediocre breakfast.  Brushed his teeth the same amount of times on each side as he did on the previous day and the day before that.  He drank his coffee that he always makes purposely weaker, that way he doesn’t feel the crash in his mid-day grind.  Everything he did in the morning reeked of routine and that is where he found himself comfortable.  Never knowing what is outside of the rut he has found himself in.  He let out a deep sigh as he looked at the clock at the same time he always does and realizes that it’s that time again.  The time for him to leave his cozy house and exchange his (ever precious) time to a higher power.

He left the house and looked upwards towards the sky and saw the gray clouds above him.  Setting up the scene for the rest of his day.  Walking down past the things of familiarity, the people in their routines.  Living their lives.  Everyday he gets the same thoughts and pushes them out dismissing himself as a “free-thinker”.  The man knows he’s a drone and hates it.

He waits at the bus stop for his chariot to arrive.  He looks at the sign for his bus then looks at his watch.  He hears the bus coming exactly on schedule.  It stops and he gets on.  He flashes his bus pass to the obviously disgruntled transit worker who clearly couldn’t care less if he tried.  The man sits down in his regular spot and stares at the spot on the floor as he always does.  A meek sigh squeaked past his lips as he raised his head to see an unfamiliar face.  The face of a woman who seemed so sublime and content.  She was actually smiling.  This seemed so foreign to him.  A beam of light in his world of gray.  He couldn’t understand it.

This woman had a long black jacket on that was unbuttoned.  Atop the jacket collar was a red scarf with a single loose thread protruding from it.  He thought about reaching for it and taking it but he thought it’d be rude.  Beneath the jacket was a plain shirt that had the text “Rise and Fall” silk-screened on.  This made the man even more curious about this mystery woman.  The rise and fall of what?  His mind raced with ideas of what it could have been.  He ended up thinking about this woman for the entire bus trip.  So much that he ended up missing his stop by two.  The man pulled the cord and stood up embarrassed.  Shaking his head at how foolish he was.  Out of the corner of his eye he saw the woman look at him and her permanent smile grew just a little.  Enough to be noticed.  He arrived at the building and was out of breath.  He stopped to wonder if it was from her or the run from missing his stop.  Shrugging it off as a lapse in judgment, he headed into the most dreaded part of his routine.

He spent the next eight hours enamored by the idea of this woman in the read scarf.  It was only just the idea of her too.  He didn’t know her name.  What she does.  Her favorite colour.  He assumed it was red because of the scarf but he couldn’t be for sure and that is what he loved.  Not knowing what was next.  He almost forgot the feeling of not knowing.  He caught himself sketching a picture of her on a spare pad of Post-It notes.  He quickly crumpled up the paper and tried to get his mind on work but couldn’t.  Everywhere he went he saw this woman in the red scarf.

The workday ended and the man went home.  That night he dreamed of her.  He dreamed that the woman was walking away and he couldn’t catch up no matter how hard he ran.  He saw the thread coming out of the scarf.  He went to grab it and he felt it in his hand but then he started falling and falling with no end in sight just this long red string.  He woke up with his hand clenched.  He opened it up to see nothing.  He felt like today was going to be like every other day at that point.

We walked out to greet the day with a grunt and a shrug.  He dragged his feet step by step down the pavement and was dreading another day at the grind.  While clunking down the street like an automaton with a directive, he looked up to see the woman from the bus coming towards him.  He wanted to stop and talk to her.  Ask her name.  Ask her to coffee.  Ask her for the secrets of the universe.  But the man couldn’t stop.  He kept walking in fear of what would happen if he broke his routine.  She passed by him.  Their gaze met but broke due to the two travelers keeping in their stead.  The man kept walking in disbelief at his actions.  He kept going through the crowd of people, passing by street lamps and garbage cans unable to look back.  The man forced himself to stop and turn around.  It took all of his strength.  He looked for her but she was gone.  Lost in the cacophony of people.  The sea of the faceless.  He let out a sigh and looked down at the sidewalk to lament his mistake.

Suddenly, the man felt weightless and was being lifted into the air.  Uncontrollably he was levitating upwards.  The man panicked and tried to grasp at anything to keep him on the ground.  No such luck.  He started going higher and higher and panicking even more.  He reached a certain altitude and stopped climbing.  He thought this crazy ride was over and he would be returned to the ground where he felt safe.  Not a chance.  He started flying head first into the wild blue yonder and screaming at the top of his lungs thinking that these will be the last minutes of his life.  But that was not the case.  He kept going and going.  He was traveling all around the world seeing sights and hearing the sounds of the world underneath him.  It was like he had a sensory overload.  Never knowing the kinds of things that were happening just around him.  He smiled for the first time in a long time and started actually having fun.  He was having fun!  For once, his day wasn’t a melancholy display of disgust and apathy.  He looked into the distance and saw something coming towards him.  At first, he thought it was a bird but it was too big to be a bird.  Then he saw the red scarf.  It was her!  She was flying towards him at such an alarming rate that he started to get worried and think a crash was imminent.  He braced himself but as they were about to collide, their paths converged and they were heading in the same direction.  Together.

“Hello?” the man said sheepishly.

“Hi.  Nice day to blow away, huh?” She said while having a great big smile on her face.

“I’m not sure what’s going on…”  Looking around confused.

“Just let go and blow away.  That’s the only advice I can really give.”  In a quiet delicate tone

“This is normal for you?”  He gulped down the lump in his throat.

“It’s not for you?  Giving up all control?”  She asked and smiled.  The man looked confused.  But in his own way, he understood.

“Can I join you?”  He said as if he had some clarity for the first time in his life.  She looked him in the eye and saw a new person.  She nodded and grabbed his hand.  They flew away together.  Long into the night, they were still together.

“This is where we must part ways, I’m afraid.” She spoke quietly.  The man wasn’t ready to let go.

“No.  This can’t be it.” He looked her in the eye and a look of despair set in.  She shook her head and then the two were pulled away as if they were similar magnetic poles.  Pulling away gently, their fingers caressed each other for the last time but he was not ready to give up.  He grabbed for her red scarf to only grab the loose thread.  With that last effort, they were gone.  Strangers in the night.

He clasped that thread so tight and it seemed to go on forever.  He grew tired and had to fall asleep but still he clutched that thread as he drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, he awoke in his bed thinking it was all a dream.  A dream that he never wanted to wake up from.  There was something in his hand.  A portion of a red thread.  He pondered if it was real.  He shook it off as a vivid dream and nothing more.  He continued the daily grind.  Walking down the street he spotted her.  The woman from his dream.  They passed by each other on the empty street but this time he turned around to see he when she was not even 2 steps behind him.  He sees nothing but a red scarf on the ground and a red thread connecting it to the thread in his pocket.  He let out a little laugh and looked to the sky.  With that, he was gone.  Blown away in the wind.  Like her.


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