White (new story)

Author’s Note: 

This is something I just started writing a couple of days ago, and I wanted to see what you guys thought. This is the first chapter of what will become an extended work of fiction. Already working on the second chapter.

Cheers,

Leon

Chapter 1: Everyday

With a sweaty brow, a startled James woke with ruffled hair and a pant on his lips. Breathing in heavily, he groped in the blind darkness for the bottle of water that always sat between him and as his bedside table. Taking a long sip, he plopped back down onto the pillow and snuggled back into his doona. The first morning light had yet to shine through his window, but tweeting birds were the sure sign that dawn was near. He debated whether to stay awake or simply go back to sleep.

Unfortunately, his resolution to sleep through a school day yet to eventuate, owing, as these things usually did, to his mother. And this morning was no different. At the right time, seven in the morning, she knocked on his door.

“Wake up! It’s seven!” she called. And soggily, and with little to no stretching and a half a dozen muscle knots and pains, he would get up and leave the comfort of his soft doona to venture into the far rougher world.

The same as every other morning, and unfortunately, the same as every coming morning, James would first go have a morning shower. A person of terrible habit, drilled into him as a necessity by his mother, a woman who blankly appalled chaos of any kind or description, James’ morning routine was similarly identical every day. He would get up, have his morning shower, allow the water to run to down his back and so forth, those nice little relaxing things about showers would be enjoyed, and then, much like leaving his comfortable bed, he would leave his relaxing shower.

He seemed destined to leave his comforts and venture into a world filled with chaos, disorder and unknown things, uncontrollable things.

After his shower, he moved to his breakfast, enjoying his two pieces of toast and one cup of yoghurt, but not nearly as much as his shower or his bed before his shower. Enjoyment seemed to decrease as he came closer to the real world, the one outside his window that he rarely looked through.

“Packed your bag?” his mother asked him, sitting down beside him. She asked him every day, this same question, and every day, the answer was exactly the same as it would be today, and tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow and so forth.

“Yes, mom,” he said, as he always did. And with that much repeated sentence, he finished his toast, got up, grabbed his bag and left, his mother still slowly eating her food.

The air wasn’t warm, and it wasn’t cold. It wasn’t raining, nor was it sunny. Typical weather for this time of year. It never rained but it never got warmer than twenty degrees. It was hard to be happy when the weather was depressed, he thought. If nature itself is depressed, it’s difficult to try and see the good in things.

Wisdom was leaving the world, he thought. The time when independent thought was valued was leaving the world, and it was becoming just as monotonously boring and uninterested in anything but itself as it was when everybody wore grey suits, that had fraying cuffs, and worked in factories and went to the pub down the street every other night. The world was becoming polluted by inelegant simplicity and people had lost the depth that they once had had, he thought. The world was rather like that story about that man who aged backwards, he thought. Instead of growing more mature as time passes, as one goes from a baby to a child, to a teenager to an adult, gaining in wisdom with each step, the world was reversing this process. The times of genius had long been forgotten and the premium was now on the ability to look intelligent, rather than actually being intelligent.

The world was becoming as dull and grey and boring, as the sky. That was why nature was depressed, he thought, because there was nothing really to be not depressed about.

So James walked down the road he walked down, every day, every morning, to the train station that he caught his train on. Of course, this train station was small, as was everything else in his life, and trains were always late and strange and old and otherwise useless, and much as depressing as poor old Mother Nature.

But he had to catch these trains, he thought, because there wasn’t any other train station nearby, and there wasn’t another way to get to his school, which he also had to go to. So he went to his decrepit train station and waited under grey sky for a train that was going to five minutes late. Luckily, he planned ahead, and came three minutes late himself. This was the trick, he knew, to know that the trains were going to come late and plan accordingly.

James stood on that train for twenty minutes, constantly lamenting the fact that he wasn’t quite at his probationary license. Standing in a miserable train, humid as Thailand in the rainy season, and being jammed next to four other people, because, inevitably, at least two people boarded the train at every one of the ten stops between his station and his destination, was, much like the train, miserable.

So he stood there and lamented the fact that he couldn’t drive himself to school in his own car, and begged for the next two months to pass by faster. Rather predictably, the train arrived at his destination some ten minutes later than it should have. This was a rather strange phenomenon, James thought, because the train was only five minutes late when he had boarded, and somehow, in the space of ten ordinary stations, time seemed to have disappeared. Curious. Really rather curious.

He walked down the pathway, as narrow as it was, through the larger buildings that stood before his school. He ducked into a smallish alleyway, damp with puddles from the night rain and rank with the stink of bins that had been left out, only to be emptied and refilled to half with water. But he continued down this path, because not far into the alleyway was a gem. A little coffee ship with nice baristas and homely music, and the most delicious cappuccino he had ever tasted. The muffins were good too, but the coffee was considerably more important.

Strangely, he couldn’t understand why. Why the coffee was more important, that is. There was just some kind of want for coffee, but it was a good want in his mind so he didn’t complain and simply kept buying this brilliant cappuccino from this nice coffee shop.

He walked in, and the barista turned up to face him.

“Hey James,” she said. She said this almost every day. “How was that party on the weekend?”

That was reserved for every second Monday.

“Good. It was decent. Yourself? What do artsy uni students like yourself do?” he asked. It was their thing. They would talk about their days, while gave her five dollars for the coffee and the muffin.

“The same thing artsy uni students have done for years and years,” she replied, handing him the muffin.

“Oh and what’s that?” he asked. The machine made strange sounds, like a dog trying to make a mechanical whizzing sound, only, the dog was being strangled at the time.

“Get stoned,” she replied.

And that was the end of their conversation. James picked up his coffee, smiled, told her to have a nice day, and then walked out the door. Tomorrow morning, he’d walk back in, and conversations would resume.

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