Cold Water
Author: AnnmarieM

Chapter 0
Prolouge: Down with the rain

I stumble out of the door at three pm into the middle of a raging storm that sprinkles me with recycled river water, and my thought process goes something like this: ‘crap. I’m free, now what do I do?’ shortly followed with ‘note to self: bring a coat next time. Providing there is a next time and you don’t die of pneumonia.’ I guess it would be a paradox to warn people to think through rash decisions.  But that, in short, is how I find myself two hours later, blinking through sheet after sheet of icy rain and running along some obscure street leading straight to the middle of nowhere.

You see, I have learnt a valuable lesson. Running away, like fame, is not as glamorous as people make it out to be. It’s not sneaking through windows in the dead of night, or running off to your friend’s house for the weekend. It is tripping through puddles in your old, tattered trainers, wondering what they’re going to write on your death certificate when they find your drowned body all shrivelled up like a prune because it feels like a year since you’ve been dry.

The cobbled path beneath my feet eventually turns to grass when I have no more roads to follow, and I suddenly realise that there are no porches to hide under or houses to knock on; it’s just another unknown field. I end up sheltering under a large oak tree with branches that fan out into the grey sky and dull leaves that blend together to create a dreary, olive blur. Pitter patter tap. Pitter patter tap. The rain, like a familiar drum rift, reverberates softly in my head and everything seems distant. Or maybe it’s just me who’s distant. Sometimes I feel like I’m just a spectator, watching life go by without doing a damn thing to stop it. I used to think that being free would be the greatest thing that could ever happen to me, but the cold and wet reality is this: independence is overrated, and I can either die alone out here or become a hermit and live in a cave for the rest of my life.

The wave of dizziness strikes me unexpectedly. One minute I’m sitting there, all sodden and self-pitying and trying to figure out what hermits live on, and the next I’m clutching my head and everything’s tinted blue. For a while I try to fight it, try to stay awake, but the fatigue and the migraine win over eventually. I’m tired of thinking, feeling, and my weak fifteen year old body is failing me. So I do the easiest thing; I admit defeat to the darkness creeping into the corners of my vision and I close my eyes to the world.

It’s funny because my last thoughts aren’t about how cold I am, how wet I am, how pathetic I am. I think about the trees instead. I think about how one day they will grow old and wither, droop, die. And in the end, no matter what we claim, we are no better off than they are.






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