I stepped outside. I stepped into another world. My eyes flailed about, grasping for man-made familiarity, but there was not a wall or screen within their reach. Space stretched out in all directions, full of colour and sound. Silhouettes lining the horizon hooked my gaze: trees upon distant hills, standing as ancient monuments unaware of my blink upon the centuries’ pages. The last pale brush of blue dipped beneath night’s descending curtain, and the sparkling host took watch amid perfect darkness. Each star stood as an ironic beacon, making clear to me nothing but incomprehensibility. While my thoughts were engaged afar, swimming in depths terrifying and fun, winter’s hands gripped my bare arms and stung my face. In a moment the sting passed and left me with a sensation I once knew. It was invigorating. It was life. A renewed virility coursed through me, and my eyes suddenly recognised what lay before them, open, wild and unexplored: it was home. I inhaled, drinking every last drop of untamed wonder. Peace washed over me and the civilised yoke of drudgery slipped from my shoulders. This was where I belonged. It had been waiting for me. Here I was not safe, but I was free. Sparks rekindled inside me where a tall fire once burned.
The phone rang.
I savoured a parting view of the sprawling night, and then went inside; I had a deadline the next day. Returning to my study, I hunched in the lobotomising comfort of my laptop’s light. As I sank into the mould of my chair, and my soul returned to its cell, I quieted my conscience with an assurance that I would go outside again soon. I promise.
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