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Ethan Dong

Grade: 8

Beachwood Middle School

Instructor: Kate Vitek

Pink Skies

Short Story

Pink Skies

Day 328

I woke up. I was having a nice dream. In my dream, I got up, smiled, had some coffee, freshened up and walked outside. I breathed the air and looked up at the sky. The sky was blue. It was an incredible, incredible blue. A blue filled with hope and dreams. Dreams. What a nice dream. Anyway, I pulled myself from the rotten covers. On the floor next to my couch. I crawled up the couch and fell onto it from the exertion. Pizza boxes seem to go on forever, towering into the sky. The light above my couch had long since broken, now just leaving an empty void. The pizza boxes stacked up forever, even though I know it doesn't. Almost seems like I'm in a bottomless pit. Except I'm at the very bottom. I switched on the remote and turned on the tv. It's my pastime because I have a lot of time to pass. I watch football. My favorite team is the Blue Birds. They always win. The worst team out there is the Pink Pigeons, they almost never win. My entire day is confined to the couch. Except for meals, pizza is always by the door when I go to get it. Always cold. I'm fine with it, I'd rather not interact with the pizza delivery guy. He always knocks, but he's gotten used to putting it by the door. It's a sad life I lead. But that's fine. There's nothing worth going out there for anyway. It was always the same anyway. Always the same. The sky's always blue. Nothing can change that. Imagine a pink sky. Pink skies. I laugh a little. That's a funny thought. I wasted away another day. I was fine with it though. I'm just following my routine. Nothing breaks the routine. It's always the same. Always the same.

Day 339

I woke up. Something feels strange today. A cold breeze. I shivered. This isn't the same. I clambered up into my couch and huffed with exertion. I looked around for the cause of this ripple in my routine. Why, what, when, where. Where is it coming from? Where, where, where. That's when I spotted the cause of the problem. My window is open. It's slightly open.

Drip. Drop.

I'm feeling emotions right now. It's something that isn't part of the routine. It's abnormal. Awkward. It makes my life different. It scares me. What should I do. What should I do? I don't want to get up and go to that side of the room. It's too bright, too cold. Too different. You know what. I'll leave it. I don't feel like getting up. The cold is fine. The cold is fine. With that, I feel the emotion draining out of me. Leaving the vast emptiness back to where it was.

Day 346

I woke up. To the emptiness. The emptiness is a part of me. It's like a part of me, that isn't there. Because of course, it's the emptiness. I don't particularly love the emptiness, nor do I hate it. It's just there. Empty. Always the same. I watch tv as the Blue Birds crush a team. This season is quite interesting. The Pink Pigeons are winning, but barely. I feel another emptiness chewing away at me. Telling me I need to chew. So I get up, make sure that there's nobody by the door, and grab my pizza. Cold. Always the same. It's getting a little chilly here. The window rocks back and forth and creaks. I don't want to get up and close it though. I'll leave it open. It doesn't bother me.

Day 347

I woke up. This is getting to be a problem. The room is frigid and cold. But the cold gusts of wind that blow from the icy opening to the world, blows me away from it in turn. I'll close it tomorrow. I'll close it tomorrow.

Day 348

I woke up. Tomorrow has arrived, and as I watched hours of television I began to suspect something was wrong. It was about time for my pizza so I got up and walked to the door. When you've stayed on the same couch, in the same room, walked the same route to the door so many times that the dust has gathered everywhere but on the path to the door, you notice your surroundings. So of course I knew, there was definitely a bird on the windowsill. I had never seen anything like it. It was beautiful, it was graceful, it was definitely no bird you would find in this city. It was abnormal, it was different. Mostly because of the fact that it was pink.

Drip. Drop.

I felt like a child again. Watching a rabbit. Too scared to move, too scared to flinch, to gulp, to twitch, to breath. Fearful it might leave me. I would approach the rabbit carefully, knowing it knows I'm there, knowing the second I pounce it will bolt away. Then I would pounce, then it would bolt away and leave me.

I approached the bird carefully. I knew it would fly away. So I stopped. Just close enough. I could see the very feathers on its back. There was a tag on it's leg. It had a name. I knew it wasn't native to the city. It's name was

Hope.

I sat there watching it. It was much more interesting than television.

Day 357

I woke up. It's been about a week. I've gotten the bird to come in. It was quite easy, nobody would like that cold. Hope comes back everyday now, and I've made time in my routine. I've started waking up earlier and waiting for her. Hope is light pink, a beautiful color. She's interesting to watch. She does something new everyday. Sometimes she walks there, sometimes she sits there. Sometimes she cocks her head to the side and watches me back. When Hope leaves I go back to the routine. To the comfortable normality of my routine. To the safe emptiness. Sometimes however, I've noticed that. The emptiness doesn't chew away at me sometimes. I've noticed it's always early in the morning. Quite strange. Because that's always when Hope visits.

Day 376

I woke up. Hope doesn't visit all the time anymore. Frequently, but less. I've only found time to write in this diary when she doesn't visit. Otherwise I forget. I like to think Hope must do her chores, even birds must do their chores. That was an interesting thought. It made me laugh a little. Today I also cleaned up some of the pizza boxes. It's strange. I can kind of see the ceiling. It doesn't seem like a bottomless pit anymore.

Day 395

I woke up. Hope has started visiting much less frequently. I lost myself so deep in thought I started talking aloud. I startled myself, I had thought it was the television talking. I had forgotten my own voice. It's much more different than it was before. Different.

Day 406

I woke up. I clambered over to the window. I was groggy, tired, I had spent a lot of last night watching the Blue Birds game that I missed. It was a week ago now. I walked to the window, maybe Hope will be here today. Hope was not there. Her feathers were however. Pieces of fluff stuck all around the window. A mess was everywhere, sticks and twigs. Today the snow was hard. Laying down thick like a coat of heavy cloth. Weighing you down. In the middle, was a single pink feather. Long and bright and beautiful. Exotic to this urban city. I looked at this mess. I thought of what could have possibly happened here. Then I came to a conclusion that surprised me.

Hope is dead.

I was silent. For ten whole seconds. Ten seconds of it can't be. Ten seconds of impossible. Ten seconds of doubt. Then the iron bullet of truth hit me. It shattered me. It was early in the day, nearing lunch. The world was lively. How could they, how dare they. How dare they walk by ignorant to my pain. This is too different, it's not the same. It's scary.

Drip. Drop.

Suddenly something poured. Washed over me, it filled the emptiness, the safe, comfortable indifferent emptiness. Was filled. How wide it was, how vast, how impossible to fill. Suddenly it was filled. Much too quickly. I was drowning in it. I thought it would pour out of me, I thought I would explode. I was angry. I was sad. What. What? I'm angry? I'm sad? More thoughts flashed in and out of my head. I feel grief, I feel hatred, I feel despair. To keep the emotions. Emotions that's what they are! To keep the emotions from spilling out, from roaring out, like a storm. Like a ravaging wave, thunder. To keep it from spilling out I looked up. This way the emotions would fall back down my throat. The tears would fall back. Then the lights came on. I could see the ceiling so clearly, so suddenly. The light had suddenly flashed back into life. The flash surprised me, it blinded me. It scared me, "AAARGH!"

There it was, the emotions it came spilling out. I flailed backwards, the dust that had gathered around the room flying away. Dispersing. The dust that had stayed still and normal. Stayed the same. It flew in every direction. My voice surprised me, it scared me. It's not the same. The dust swirled around me, a black hurricane. I was confused, I was scared. I needed something to stay the same. I need to get the pizza. I fumbled over to get the pizza. Choking on the dust, choking and coughing. I got the pizza and practically crashed onto the couch. I opened the box, the dust still clouding me. I took it by the crust and took a single bite.

It burned.

It wasn't cold. It was smoking hot. It burned the roof of my mouth. I threw the pizza out of shock and it toppled over some pizza boxes. Everything is too chaotic, too different. It should always be the same. In the mess of pizza boxes, I struggled to find the remote to the television. I struggled to find some confirmation that the routine, my life, my way, was still there. I found it and turned the tv on. I switched to the channel I needed. I breathed. I calmed down. I realized everything was fine. The Blue Birds play the Pink Pigeons today. There's no need to panic. It will be a decisive victory. The Blue Birds will win.

But they didn't. The Blue Birds had lost to the Pink Pigeons. For a moment, there was quiet. Then my head exploded. I felt doubt, anger, hatred, sadness, despair, hopelessness and resentment flood the emptiness within me.

"What am I doing here?" I thought to myself.

"Wasting away in this hole for more than a year!"

"Go outside! The window of opportunity is right there!" I shook and trembled and shook. Not knowing what to do, not knowing what came next, not knowing because it was all too different. It's all too scary, it's too different. It's too different. I fell to the floor. Scared into sleep.

Day 407

I woke up.

Day 408

The days have been slow and painful. Voices have crowded my head with doubts and thoughts. To go outside. If I went outside, I wouldn't need this diary anymore. I had kept this diary, to keep track of the days. Of the time I spent here.

Day 409

Why am I even here? It's been such a long time, I've forgotten. I only remember that. I was tired of the world being so cruel all the time. I was tired of it always being the same. The sky is always blue, the world spins around no matter who tries to stop it. Time passes without a care for the troubles of the people. It's strange. Because in these few days. It's almost like time has stopped. And the world. Stopped spinning.

Day 410

I got up. I looked around for the first time in months. My surroundings. It was dark and broken down. I looked at the window sill. It was still blowing the frigid air into the room.

It felt like there was no hope left, until.

There was Hope.

Hope still lives. She's on my window sill. I limped over, unbelieving. I stared at her and rubbed my eyes. Then, I was shocked by another new development.

Four little pink birds waddled out from behind hope. They were into their childhood, they had just shed the fluff that grows in their first days and started to grow some actual feathers. That's when I figured it out. Hope never died. She had left to nurse her children. The twigs were from her nest, the fluff was the shedded feathers of the little birds. Hope cocked her head at me, she watched me back. I stumbled backward, and I started laughing. Pure joy and laughter. A laughter of relief and happiness. A new emotion filled the void that had been chewing away at me. Something new, something enjoyable. It was amazing, that feeling. Suddenly, I wanted to experience it more. I wanted time to start again. I want the world to spin again. I want to go outside. Even if there are the highest chances against you, may there always be hope. I wondered why I had ever abandoned this feeling. I realized how fun it was, watching Hope. Different each day, random. I wanted to experience it again. The laughter, the excitement for each day's differences from the last. I put on my coat, spring is starting to pop out again. It was early in the morning, nobody had walked out of their homes yet. So I did. I walked out. Down the hall that I had forgotten for so long, down the winding stairs that used to feel like a long tiring trek. Through the lobby I remember so often going through. And out the door. I let hope and her children sit in my hand. As I walked down, it was the crack of dawn. Huh, how funny. By coincidence, at this time of day specifically the sky isn't fully blue yet and the sun hasn't risen to it's height.

And how about it. The sky is pink.

Day 726

I woke up. I got up, smiled, had some coffee, freshened up and walked outside. I breathed the air and looked up at the sky. The sky was pink. It was an incredible, incredible pink. A pink filled with hope and dreams. Hope. It's been a year since that time. Hope saved me from despair. From the emptiness. For anyone else, that cripples from the emptiness that chews away at you. Chewing mindlessly as the bland days roll by. For anyone else that has forgotten the taste of taste. The excitement of a new day. I hope that Hope will come to you too. Know that the sky isn't always blue. Nowadays, I make sure to wait for Hope to come sit by the window. The window of opportunity. With her kids, Spring, Pink, and Dream. Then I always make sure to walk down that hallway, the stairs, and through the lobby. With them in my hands, and I always make sure to walk out and watch the sun go up. To watch the impossibly, incredibly, unbelievably beautiful,

Pink Skies.