She unlocked the fragile front door to her mother’s flat only to be greeted with the smell of stale darkness and the rhythmic tick of an analogue clock, which was placed on a wooden chair near the entrance.
With heavy, tired feet dragging beneath her, she walked into the cramped kitchenette, shutting the apartment door behind her. She collapsed her nearly empty suitcase and backpack on the nearest available chair and fumbled for the table lamp. Light was shed at last in both the apartment and on her tear stained face.
She walked into the bedroom and dropped herself on the busy bed, filled with previously unpacked clothing and recently searched-through documents. An insignificant yellow glow creeped into the bedroom from the living room lamp, but darkness seemed to swim around Vine as she stared at the dark ceiling, face hot with fresh tears.
In that moment she decided she was going to sleep in until 11 o’clock, even though her flight will be leaving the airport at 10:45 the next morning.
Maybe i’ll wake up for a bit to phone the airline, she thought to herself, if they give me a fuss, I’ll ask them what the heck do they expect a student to do when they find out their mother has cancer and has no one else to look after her and her tiny flat? Do they expect me to get on a darn plane just so that they can teach me how to put on a seat belt that won’t save me if the plane crashes, or to thank me for traveling with…
Her thoughts were broken by a bead of sweat, or maybe tears, running down the side of her face. She lazily pushed herself out of the bed and turned on the sole air conditioning unit, which kicked on with an aggressive roar.
Vine let out a mixture of a shudder and a sigh as she stood in front of the cool air and changed into sleeping clothes. Somewhere in the distance, she can hear a song playing something about oceans, failing feet, and spirits leading someone beyond a border. She crawled back into her mother’s large but crowded bed, feeling as though she were sinking beneath a ripe tide that would either drown her or quench her thirst. Tomorrow, she will deal with the consequences of leaving behind her glory.
Tonight, she will dream tear-stained dreams in the bed she had grown up sleeping in.