Updated: Sep 20, 2019
I live in a small, almost non-existent town, which we call Sunbridge. I say we, I mean they. It is the type of place you come to relish in your happiness, not unlike every other town I have ventured to. The sun shines for twenty-four hours a day, and we are awake for every second of that; too excited to waste time sleeping. Again, they. Light is the only thing we know, light is everywhere. It oozes out of the sky and rains down upon us. Arises up from the ground and then swarms around the air to enter the souls of those who reside here. There is no running from it, nor is there hiding; you must simply stop and repeat the following words: “I live in Sunbridge and I am very happy!” preferably with a gigantically fictional smile painted on your face as you do so. That is how you survive in a world like this, a world tainted by the fear of sadness; so much so laws have been made. These laws are put in place to ensure that the only emotion felt in the town of Sunbridge, is of happiness. Its been so long now, that most people in this town only know that anyway. I don’t, I remember sadness.
As I wander towards the exit of my humble home, I look at my reflection in the mirror by the door. My wrinkled skin doesn’t glow or radiate sunshine like everyone else in my town. My eyes don’t sparkle, nor do any dimples appear when I force myself to smile. The grey spreads further into my hair like a virus. My collarbones loom over my flat chest prominently and, as I explore further down my body, I can see that my hip bones treat my slim legs in the same manner. With that, I wrap my delicate body in my warmest coat. I place my woolly hat on my head and finally walk out of the door, and into this overbearing town; although this time I head towards the empty fields. The airy Green Land at the end of our town is a place that no soul has yet explored, as exploration of these fields is against the rules. But I’m tired of listening to those nonsense rules, and so I walk and walk until the air feels slightly different with each step. I breathe in this new air and it feels light in my lungs. My vision becomes slightly blurred. I look up to see the sun slowly setting and know why. My eyes tingle momentarily as they have been forced to endure burning light for years and are beginning to adjust to this new light. A sort of spring forms in my steps as I skip towards what I remember to be freedom. I don’t stop walking; in fact, I start running; desperate to allow this new free air to fully engulf and warm my soul. The icy sensation that once filled my skin vanishes. I rip off my coat and throw it to the ground along with my hat. As I reach the top of the hill, I get a better view of my freedom; which appears to be nothing but more empty fields. I take a closer look and notice a little hut in the distance. There are no bright lights gleaming out of the windows and roof. It simply looks like an ordinary building.
My curiosity leads the way I take the time to look back up to sky and watch it change from the familiar blend of blue to an extraordinary mix of contagious oranges, pinks and reds that match the fire re-lighting in my soul. Up ahead the mysterious hut gets closer and closer into my grasp until I finally reach the door. As I extend my now plump arm to the handle, I take in one big breath of this glorious air, before opening the door and stepping in. I allow my eyes to scan the area for a few moments. The room before me is wrapped in dull, wearisome and lifeless walls painted solely in one colour, a colour I have not seen for years; black. A single light bulb hanging directly from the middle of the ceiling is the only source of light. For some reason this feels natural. If I wasn’t so intrigued by the residents of this peculiar hut, I would smash the light, so I could finally embrace the darkness again. But my curiosity won’t allow this, not just yet. First, I see them. The tightly packed tables placed around the room are all filled with elderly men and women, as wrinkled and aged as I. Then I hear them; the muffled whimpers and sobs fill the space like music to my ears. As I begin to walk towards these people, I notice that their smiles are the wrong way around and their eyes are wet. As I get even closer, I feel a dampness reach my feet. I look down to find that water is overtaking the path in front of me, forming a lake. There is no avoiding this water as it gets deeper with each step I take towards my people. I remove my footwear and glide effortlessly through the water as I swim towards the only seat left. These men and women have not looked up and acknowledged my presence in their home; as if they were expecting me. I hurry my body along to perch on the empty seat a mere few feet in front. My body which has now returned to its original plumper state finally reaches its destination, I place myself upon the chair provided for me and look around one final time. Then I look towards the dripping wet women sat next to me and I embrace the strange damp sensation I feel overflowing in my eyes. I look deep into the woman’s ageing eyes and finally let the tears flow.
Holly Smith is a nineteen-year-old student at Canterbury Christ Church University. She is
currently in the second year of her Creative and Professional Writing Degree. She hopes to
write light young adult fiction that is read when in need of relaxation, particularly by
Women. If you were to find Holly Smith’s books anywhere, she would like to think they
would be found with ruffled, dampened corners on the bath ledge, in the company of a
huge mug of tea.
Image Credit: Nika Akin