It’s hard not to think about the future, even when you know it’s futile to do so. At least, that’s how I’ve always been. My mind just flutters about, wondering about what the next day could bring, but, deep down, I know that there’s no point in doing so. Deep down, I know, that the best thing to do is to let the future play itself out, to wait and see where I could be in due time, and not to worry about the uncertainty that my life revolves around. But deep down, I get excited about that kind of stuff. How can I not? It’s my future after all.
But, even so… Even yet, it’s dumb, right? I get all giddy thinking about where I could be when… That possibility may not even be mine. When I get like that, when I think that all I’ll ever become is a useless, irritable, woman, I get scared. It’s fine to be scared though, right? We’re all scared sometimes. But when I get scared, I get really scared, and when that happens, I tend to go out.
It was a brisk morning, the break of dawn, when I opened the curtains to my window. The orange sunlight bled into my room and washed over my eyes. When my vision finally adjusted, I peered my face over the glass, and noticed how dark the skies were. The clouds were just on their way, and the only brink of light was from the tired morning sun. That day, I had a dream. My head was still spinning, and, the air in my room was stifling. If I had stayed any longer, I thought I would have been dragged into another world, left to wander the earth soulless. But, I wasn’t one to think like that in the first place. In reality, I had just woken up to a bad headache. That’s how it usually went.
When I got up towards the bathroom, I couldn’t help but to stare at the papers on my desk. Each one had a different path for me, each one was laden with possibility. And, I stayed up all till the late of night thinking about it. Looking at it when I had just woken, made me sick.
I put on something light, tied up my hair behind me, and quietly made my way to the door. Each step I took made a slight creak in the floorboards, but, I pretended to be a world class spy, that didn’t help my case, but somehow propelled me enough that I didn’t wake my parents. I then slowly turned the knob, opening the door just so that I could fit, and, when I was out, I slowly closed the door behind me. Once out, a gust of morning air came rushing towards me in waves. I sighed, and then looked up towards the sun, it’s morning glory peeking through the running clouds, and I started my walk.
Around where I lived, the mornings were always peaceful. No one was up and about. The streets were silent, and, for a moment, if I stood still, long enough, I could imagine myself as the last person on Earth. The morning breeze would wrap itself around me, and I would feel my face flushing in the cool airs of fall. I would open my eyes to see the orange leaves bleed the pavement, and the orange breech of sunlight above, coloring the world in a strange blood. I eventually found myself in front of my old school. It’s bricks would be illuminated by the slight glow of the sun, and, it’s name would shimmer in weak gold if I squinted enough.
“You’re here awfully early, and for that matter, incorrectly as well.” I turned to see one of my old school teachers coming up beside me. He never did look like much of the part. He always dressed so sloppily that we first confused him for some kind of older student just messing around. But, he was our teacher, a laidback teacher who somehow got the job done.
“I can say the same for you. Teacher’s don’t have to come in this early, right?” He shook his head. His hair was incredibly messy, and his hands were stuffed into his pockets like they were attached to them.
“We don’t, but, I live near here anyway. The mornings are nice around these parts, I’m sure you’ve noticed.” His smile was incredibly childish, and yet, a tinge of maturity sprang somewhere in there.
“So, why are you here, Eve?” We stood side by side staring into the school, the dawn of the sun glowing behind us, and the slow airs of fall swirling in our wake.
“You said you were going to take a year off, right?” I nodded.
“Did you ever tell me why?”
“I didn’t.” I smiled, no, I didn’t tell a single person why, and, when I would stay up till the late of night thinking, sometimes, even I didn’t know.
“I suppose it’s something personal, huh?”
“Maybe.” He looked at me with a questioning stare.
“Whatever your reason, it’s still yours, right?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well,” he gave out a hearty sigh, and then, continued, “if you wanted a year off to goof around, or, if you seriously just wanted the time to figure yourself out, then, both are valid reasons.” The singing of the morning birds soon came.
“Whatever it is that you want to do, it’s up to you. No one can tell you otherwise, okay, Eve?” I nodded.
“And, that also means, that if you got kicked out, that you shouldn’t feel too bad,” he said with a playful smile.
“I didn’t get kicked out! Not this early in the morning. I was just out on a walk.”
“Oh? You don’t look the type?” His teasing smile made him seem all the more young.
“Assuming you even knew me that well.” He then gave off a pained look on his face, that of which looked incredibly playful.
“Give me some credit here Eve, I respect all my students.”
“So you’ll remember a student five years ago?”
“Now you’re making me sound old. I’ve only been teaching three years.”
“Then three years?”
“Every single one of them.” His eyes were unwavering as he stood smiling over the buildings glow. Somehow, I believed him.
“But going out on walks in the morning? At your age? You must be awfully mature Eve.” I was just about done with his teasing, but, if not for his company, I would have regressed back to my thoughts of the future. That much, is what I convinced myself of. I needed something to keep my mind from wandering. I then wondered, if I should ask him.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Did you always want to be a teacher?” A car went on beyond
us, its engine whirring in the dead of morning, and its smoke gathering in the air. The sun’s gentle glow began riding up the school’s building and I began losing sense of where the sun was in the sky anymore. In fact, the more the morning progressed, I began losing my sense of direction, of where anything was.
“From that question, I can guess why you’re out here, Eve.” He looked at me with a caring smile, the kind of smile I would have expected from my father.
“Your future huh? That’s a loaded thing to be up about in the morning.” It felt appropriate that he would pat my head now, but, of course, he didn’t. I felt a little lonely.
“Being a teacher wasn’t always my thing.”
“Really?” He laughed.
“No. It was never my intention to be a teacher, but, it just sort of happened. I wanted to be a social worker.”
“A social worker?” I couldn’t imagine it, no matter how much I tried.
“That’s right. Someone out there, doing well… Whatever it is they do. It’s a long story, and I won’t bore you with it Eve, but, in the end, this was my next option.”
“Does it really work like that?” Another car drove on by behind us.
“Things happen for a reason. You ever hear about that?”
“Isn’t that just an aphorism?”
“Just an aphorism?” He sighed with a disappointed expression over his face as he shook his head.
“That’s exactly the point of an aphorism Eve. Things happen for a reason, believe it?” I couldn’t answer.
“Whether or not you do, things really do happen for a reason. Whether that reason is good or bad, well… It doesn’t matter.” A few more cars came buzzing by behind us. He looked into the street, with a tired expression.
“I became a teacher because that was the only other option I would stomach. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. If you have something you want to do, then do it, and if not, just keep living, and keep exploring. That’s the best thing you can do, Eve, to just keep moving forward.” He looked at me with a warm smile, and, while lost in his words, I didn’t notice my phone buzzing in my pocket.
“That’s what you’re worried about, aren’t you?” I nodded.
“You’ve got the world ahead of you. Do with it what you will, but, don’t go on depressing walks in the morning. You’re still too young for that.” With that, he began walking down towards the plaza. I noticed the sun burning onto my skin, and when I turned, it was above me, the clouds had escaped, and I was left in front of my school with only my mind for company. His words began tearing into me, but, even so, I still couldn’t grasp what he fully meant, nor, did I really do so as I began thinking of the day after tomorrow. Even then, with the quiet of my mind left to its own devices, I was still left prisoner to the uncertain. But, as I got home, ignoring the text from my parents to tell them where I was, I smiled and laughed and wondered if one day, somewhere in the future, I could really find myself somewhere. I still had a long time to go, but, for the first time, that day, I wondered what I would do for lunch.