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Impossible Year: Petrichor

It had been hours since Ryan Ross began staring down the mustard-yellow walls of his living room, and since then he hadn’t stirred from his position but once to take a sip from his mug—only to realise in quiet disdain that his chai tea had already gone cold.

It was drizzling lightly and he was lazily lounging on the couch, wearing an embarrassingly fluffy blue jumper and sweatpants, having a nice warm (well, not so nice and warm now) drink, and hearing nothing but the comforting sounds of rain falling from the gloomy sky and gently kissing the rooftop and windows.

It was the perfect sweater weather, the one Ryan adored and wrote about more than any other season, more than he ever even cared to admit…but now, it just didn’t feel right. He didn’t really know why, exactly, but something felt anxiously off somehow.

Just what is it about today?

On most times like these, he would already be full-on dramatic poet mode, with his intent musings flowing past his relaxed mind and onto his chewed-up pen like…filthy drainpipe water flowing onto the open sewers? Seriously, out of all the beautiful ways to have possibly worded it, that’s the best metaphor he could come up with? Disgusting.

Ryan sighed, running a hand through his messy auburn hair in frustration. The situation was getting more dire by the minute, and nothing else he seemed to try was working.

Mental block is a bitch.

Maybe he was just forcing it too much. Maybe he’d been cooped up inside his suffocating house for too long. Maybe he needed to take a break.

He snorted derisively at the last thought. He definitely needed to take a break.

“George Ryan Ross III, you need to get the hell out of this damning place and pull yourself together!” He proclaimed to himself, his soft voice echoing throughout the empty rooms of his house.

Filled with a new fervour, Ryan resolutely headed to the door, but not before making sure to grab a heavy parka from his closet and a badly-bent umbrella leaning by his shoe rack. As soon as he stepped outside, the scene that greeted Ryan completely took his breath away.

It was a whole lot prettier than he imagined.

Careful not to trample on the newly-blossoming flowers, Ryan giddily spun and traipsed about for a bit before finally standing still in the middle of his front yard. He then breathed in deeply, taking in the fresh scent of lemongrass and rainwater painting the air in that sluggish April afternoon.

The initial rush of wind that blew by was rather strong, rustling the tree branches madly and making him lose his umbrella. The latter was sent careening out of his grasp and ended up tumbling away onto the puddle-soaked street, creating an awful screech as it went along, metal scraping against pavement until the abrasive sound slowly faded away into nothing.

But surprisingly, Ryan found that he didn’t mind it at all. The umbrella’s already old and half-broken, anyway. And the weather never gave a damn about me.

Hey, that kind of sounds like a good line…ladies and gentlemen, we finally have a breakthrough! A voice at the back of Ryan’s head announced victoriously. It was such a silly thought…but suddenly, he didn’t feel so exhausted anymore.

And for the very first time that day, Ryan smiled.

Ryan stayed out in the rain for a rather long time, shivering madly and humming melodies to himself until he was numb from the cold and drenched to the bone. He laughed until he cried, he cried until he laughed; until the tears were indistinguishable from the cloudburst, until the childish laughter was intertwined with the sweet reveries of spring.

And there he stayed, until the rainfall finally ceased and the drowsy sun slowly sank under the scarlet horizon; still cheering and singing along to the march of the clouds.

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Filed under Poetry

Impossible Year: Haze

The eventide stars, Spencer Smith decided, were more beautiful when their iridescent light coalesced softly against the glimmering snowfall.

Holding a freshly-bought cup of coffee to warm his hands, he wrapped the scarf around his pallid face a bit tighter, his cheeks already a pleasant shade of pastel red from the cold. Finding a nearby park bench to rest on, he placed his bag on it and gingerly sat down to stretch his weary legs.

It had been a long day.

The dim sodium lights above his head overhead flickered once, twice, before completely blazing bright, gradiating his shadow farther and making the darkness seem a little less lonelier than it was.

Lonely little life…

Intricate whorls of vapour escaped from his mouth in a lost sigh. He gazed thoughtfully into his untouched drink, languid mind turning to reminiscing as it replayed old memories like damaged black and white film reels, visions rolling through his half-closed eyes like a fast fading dream.

He thought about his best friend, the clever idiot. Spencer hadn’t seen him in…years? Had it been years? Most likely. He already stopped counting, and he was pretty sure they had done the same, as well. They’ve all been separated for a while and doing their own things now, after all. That was just a part of growing up.

But suddenly remembering those old moments of madness and melancholy alike; the dumb interviews spent joshing each other around and the absurd-looking costumes they put together with thrifted clothes and dollar store supplies, the way they constantly joked around together and made crazy music that left a lasting legacy to always be proud of, the hell-high youth that intoxicated them and, for one moment, made everything feel deathless—it all came crashing back to him and made him feel rather blindly exposed. The frigid breeze suddenly started to pick up as it blew past his rusty bones, making made him shiver slightly.

Best friends, huh…

He hugged his jacket a little tighter towards him as he felt a slower chill run past his skin again. This time, he wasn’t quite entirely sure if it was still from the cold weather.

Spencer smiled dolefully, ignoring the quiet pang of ache that made its way under his ribs. He was happy for his old friend, he really was. That man had helped him through so much, carrying him throughout his worst relapses and his painful withdrawals and even the most hopeless moments of his life, god, they’ve been through so much together. But it couldn’t always be a fairy tale ending for all of them. Sometimes clocks simply stop, and cogs simply fall apart, and after everything that’s happened, time couldn’t ever be turned back and everything has to go on. Happily ever after wasn’t ground zero, it was simply another fork in the road.

But it’s alright. That’s just life. And it was fun while it lasted.

Despite himself, he still can’t help but badly miss everyone. He wondered if they also missed him, as well.

Spencer sat by the very corner of that fragile cardboard town for quite a long time, resting beneath the sinking lavender haze of the early winter afterglow as he let frail snowflakes blanket his tired body; waiting for answers he knew will never come to him.

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Filed under Prose