Escaping reality By Stacey Taylor
My morning routine had become stagnant: wake up, coffee, breakfast (on the days that I could be bothered to make it), shower, teeth, get dressed and scatter out of my house in a rushed-panic, later for work than I had expected. Until five years ago, this was my life. Waking up to work, and working to wake up. Until one day when enough was enough. I was desperate to relieve myself of the monotonous, dreary and uninspired person I was becoming – or had already become without paying much attention.
My passion had always been to put pen to paper and let my mind gush out creativity like a scathing river during a thunderstorm. But to think that I could win the authoress lottery and become a best-seller in enough time to pay my rent was both unrealistic and impossible. And Mike my ex-husband, agreed. He hated it when I wrote, he said it would never help me pay the bills, but my peace of mind and the serenity that overcame me when I wrote was more important than money.
As the sharp rays of the morning sun peeked through the crevices of my tattered and aged drapes, and my fingers graced the pages of a once unused notebook, I knew it was time for me to take myself away. Away from the harsh reality of what was happening in the world – in my world.
The process was slow, it was most mornings. I hadn’t had much sleep the night before, as my mind was racing faster than a Cheetah chasing after its pray for the first time in days. When writer’s block hits, it is hard to find the inspiration needed to continue on the path of intended greatness.
Looking out of my rain-stained window, I saw a lonely old man, walking on the side-walk with a look of prolonged sadness on his face. I saw two birds, fighting over the one small piece of bread that a commuter must’ve left for them, with only one coming out victorious. I saw the sun tiredly rising as it did each day, trying to brighten a world that was overcome with darkness and chaos.
I was looking for a slither of what seemed like hope; hope to make the day just that little bit better, hope to stop hiding from people and places and things, hope that I might get enough strength and courage to face a world that was so cruel to me for so many years. I suppose it was because I had lived my entire life in darkness, hiding from people and places and things.
Mike was abusive in every sense of the word. For years I had endured a pain that I could only describe as your heart being viciously ripped out of your chest, both literally and figuratively. I took it, the beatings, the slashes, the burns and the slew of deafening insult thrown at me on a daily basis. Five years ago is when it changed. I packed my bags, moved into a tiny studio apartment in a rundown area (as that is all I could afford) and began my life as a divorced author.
This whole time I was sitting at my desk, waiting for an idea that would be the next big thing, reminiscing about how bad my life used to be, how much I had endured; it hit me like an eighteen-wheeler. I had everything I had ever wanted. I had a roof over my head, although small and a bit dingy, it was my roof, my safe haven. I had food in my constantly grumbling belly, yearning for its next helping of tortilla chips and ‘guac’. I had my best friend and most loyal companion, Mishka, my cat. And above all, I was fulfilling my biggest desire – to be left in the comfort and excitement of my own thoughts and the scribbles my pen wrote on the paper.
I glanced over at the clock and realized that it had been over two hours since I sat down to begin my day. Where had the time gone? Where does the time always go? Soft rain drops now glistened through the morning sun and fell to the pavement with the grace of a butterfly landing on a flower.
And then suddenly, BANG! CLASH! THUMP!
The sound of silence had been broken by a drunken fool, stumbling through the house, rattling and breaking everything in his destructive path. Mike was home and I had been woken up by the sheer terror that had plagued me for the last 15 years.
I got up and ran to the bathroom to try and hide but also to prepare myself for the blows that awaited me. Mike knew I always hid in here, but each and every time, it seemed like the fastest and easiest escape.
I began sobbing uncontrollably, like the flood gates of the dam had burst from heavy rainfall. And then it dawned on me, my dream life, my safe haven, my comfort zone, my escape from reality had all been a dream. In a couple of hours when I wake up, I will make coffee and eat breakfast (if I can be bothered to make it). I will jump into a scalding hot shower, brush my teeth and get dressed. I will run out of my house later than originally anticipated and I will go on as if nothing had ever happened.