continued from previous
“What if the dawn never arrives?” – John thought to himself as he sat in the twilight, 13 floors above the mimosas, right at the center of the three-seater couch that the previous tenants had abandoned in a hurry. It was a fear that he had since he was a child, every time he went to bed: if the Earth goes through all this trouble to close the curtains every night, where does it find the strength to pull them back open in the morning? What if it skipped a day? What if it skipped a whole month? What if it just never bothered, or even forgot? What if it just couldn’t remember what it was like to dawn again?
It was a recurring nightmare that he eventually grew out of when he contemplated the opposite scenario: what if the Earth never slept? What if it just overheated from the 24-hour sun, the endless commotion of all the living things walking, flying, eating, shitting, destroying?
For an introvert like John, desolation did not feature high on his list of top fears. He found peace and clarity in the emptiness of his unfurnished apartment (bar the luxury couch). He welcomed the thick, pitch-black sky that advanced ever so slowly, beginning to ooze through the fittings of the large floor-to-ceiling windows. Maybe this is how introverts “recharge their batteries”: by sinking into the darkness whenever they can, finding a few moments of “night” during their day, when they can block out all external stimuli and just sink into the moment.
But tonight felt different for John. The neighborhood was more quiet than usual. And the sky didn’t feel like a sky. It felt heavy and thick, like an oil slick that had come out of nowhere and engulfed the entire city. If John opened the window, the black liquid may just rush in and flood everything. “Is this what loneliness feels like?” – he thought for a second. He felt suffocated, but it wasn’t loneliness. It was the existential fear that life was beginning to lose its meaning, just like this apartment had lost almost all of its furniture pieces, one by one.
from the upcoming novel A New Earth
to read from the beginning, go here
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books