(prompt: ‘priority’ June 12 2020)
It’s close! Frighteningly close. Seeking escape, I spin around, searching every direction for refuge.
A building explodes across the street. A shower of glass needles rains down. I fling up my arm to shelter my face, but it’s too late. Countless strikes pierce my skin. Impossible to shield myself. My hand comes away wet. Bloody. A cracking noise makes me look up through my blurred vision, to see the corner of another building falling. This one won’t miss me…
With a jump that heaves me half out of bed, I’m awake, hand slamming down on that damned alarm clock. I’m awake now, baby. You can shut the hell up now. And I ask myself, why on earth I chose that stinking falling bomb alarm? All the better to wake you up, my dear, I mouth, and an unpleasant sneer lifts my top lip, remembering other alarms and hitting the SNOOZE button to indulge in some extra ZZZs.
With wakefulness comes another horror, except this one is real. It’s Monday! I have a small, desperate conversation with myself that it can’t be Monday, because I haven’t even nearly finished the weekend yet. But myself ignores me.
Meanwhile, I continue to curse for not choosing the soothing classic music alarm. Once again I’m chewing myself out for my bravado—or was that stupidity? I chose this harshest alarm call to ensure I’d awaken instantly. After the shortest of intervals, a further alarm, reminiscent of a police-issue siren—a nee-nor, nee-nor sound to strike terror in the most honest heart—ensures no drift-back to dreamland.
I toss and turn and the tangle of my legs and bedclothes worsen as I unsuccessfully try to escape the evil clutches of reality. Dragging my feet miserably, I head into the shower, muttering “I’m not coming out until Monday’s over.” Another forlorn wish. No matter how far I try to draw out the bliss of that warm waterfall, finally my soft and beautiful fingers will turn into wizened walnuts—elongated and not brown, to be sure—but spookily wrinkled. A preview of things to come? My aged tomorrow? I can’t help a shudder, but that’s rapidly followed by a deliberate and definite shrug. NOT this day! NOT for a long, long time.
I peek out from behind the shower curtain and repeat loudly to nobody there, “I’m NOT coming out until Monday is over!”—but nobody there shows interest, so there’s no choice but to get out. Drippy dame, I mutter—and then laugh before reminding myself to get my priorities in order.
‘They’ say one day on planet Mercury lasts 1408 hours. Bizarre. That’s the same as Monday here on Earth… although, thinking about it, Fridays have a distinct similarity. That aching for the end of the day; the end of the working week. For now, however, Friday is much too far away to worry about.
Before donning my work-gear, I turn on the radio in the forlorn hope they’ve cancelled Monday.
Nope! Only in dreams!