Daily Prompt: Clean Slate.
I do not remember painting my nails this blueish-turquoise color, and as it seems I do not remember sitting on this leather couch in this family room – nor do I recognize any of it.
I glance at the wooden coffee table in front of me that my feet rest on. There is a book on top of a spiral ring notebook upon the coffee table. “The Softball Pitching Edge”; as I look down at my t-shirt I see the word softball printed in all caps across my chest. My mind is spinning. “When did I pick up softball?”
There is an elegantly painted tissue box that brings about a rustic vibe throughout the room. Its use of deep, red, velvet pillows and hunter green accents in the floral carpet and matching drapes fill the air with a warmth that sets a comforting mood. It is cozy. Old, antique-looking cabinets sit on either side of the long, leather couch I am sitting on. I am facing an enormous, oak cupboard with what I would assume to be a television inside; the doors are closed so I would not know unless I got up myself to open it. But I am too frightened and light headed to do such a thing.
“What is going on?” I find myself saying out loud.
Although I did not have any remote recollection of ending up in this location, it occurs to me that I should not be as frightened as I am. That warmth that vibrates through the very walls of this room tells me I should not be afraid. I am safe here, in this stranger’s home, sitting on their sofa with my feet resting on their coffee table. There is no harm that can come to me, because these are nice people and, for that matter, have a decent taste in sports and velvet pillows.
Out of curiosity, I reach over and open up the spiral notebook. It looks old and the pages are wrinkled from a lot of use. As I open the front cover, there are quotes and different post-its and memorabilia tucked away carefully within the folds of the manila divider. As I continue to turn the pages I realize it is someone’s diary. I am quickly intrigued as I realize this person’s talent and passion for writing.
I feel empowered as I read through its pages although I know I should feel guilty. “Why do these thoughts seem so familiar to me?” My guilty conscience is MIA, but my gut tells me these feelings are mine.
I grip my Canon Rebel T3 in between my clammy hands and keep my freshly manicured finger pressed halfway down on the shutter release – ready to capture the beginning of a new year. As I peer through the viewfinder and slowly focus my 300x zoom lens on the crystal ball, a chill goes through my spine. It is dark and everyone is crammed into the small room that has the one view with the window looking out at time square directly facing the New Years ball. The countdown starts at sixty seconds and everyone in the room explodes as the crystal ball slowly moves downward on its prestigious pole. I can feel the two peppermint raspberry martinis in my stomach float up to my head; they bring me with them until I am slowly out of my body and looking down at myself from above.
I see myself from a different light; one that cannot be shed by a lamp or the sun, or by looking at a reflection in the mirror or a picture someone else has taken of me. I see a girl down there, with her blonde hair draped over her shoulder, standing on her tippy-toes to try and get a better look at the ball. I see through that girl and her polkadot stockings; through her lip gloss and purple eyeliner. Right through those expensive, leather boots she asked for for Christmas and the way she tries to wear them now to make others think she is someone more than she really is. I see that girl’s soul and all of her innermost secrets; her deepest thoughts and dreams that come to life through the hope of a new beginning, through the lens of her Canon camera, through the drop of the New Years ball.
“3, 2, 1!” I am brought back down to Earth at an alarming rate. “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” Confetti streams in through the open windows from my Aunt Karen’s 9th floor office and I snap a quick picture of what I have been aiming at for what seems like hours. I look back at my camera roll. Shit. The picture was taken just a millisecond too late – the enormous “1” that appeared for a split second on the billboard has turned into a blurry, white screen with sparks and confetti fogging the view.
Then it hit me. Like a meteor shooting through space and pulverizing Earth to a thousand, tiny pieces; I don’t want to miss anything anymore. Not the New Years ball, not the giant one on the billboard, and not Gary.