I stared outside at the sky. It was slowly darkening as summer came to an end. Looking at my watch, I noted that I still had time. Too much time .
They were waiting for me. Out there in the real world. I just had to leave this place and go to meet them. It seemed so easy, so why was I struggling with it?
The pub was just across the road, less than thirty metres away. Yet it may as well have been on another continent. Looking at my front door and its myriad of locks, I just had to open that and step outside.
I wasn’t ready yet.
I still had time.
A night out with friends would do me good. That is what they told me. Get you out of that flat and into the real world. What they did not understand was that the real world was the problem. Glancing outside again, the world seemed to be dark and only small pools of light lit up the blackness. Areas of safety. All it would take was to run between them until I got to my destination. The shining golden city sat there, inviting me in with its warm light.
Yet there was a lot of darkness between me and it.
Armour. That’s what I needed. That would protect me until i made it over there. Raking through my CD collection, I pulled a home made one out and slid the disc home. The badly written text on the shiny disc had the words “Night Out” scrawled on it.
I pressed play.
The guitar filled the room as the track started. I could feel the beat flowing through and over me, wrapping me in its arms. Without meaning to I joined in on air guitar, singing softly to myself in an out of tune way. The chorus kicked in and I felt great. looking at the golden city, I could envision myself standing outside it, looking up at the golden spires and stepping through the heavy doors.
The track ended with a flourish and there was a split second of silence. I could not remember what was on that CD, my memory seemed to be blank.
Drums started to pound out a marching beat.
I scrambled for the skip button. That was her favourite song. i could not listen to it. not now. The music changed but it was too late. The damage had been done. My mind opened up to the nightmares and bad memories that were hiding just beyond my sight. pouring into me any musical armour I had been wearing, soon crumbled to dust. I sat down on the sofa and just stared into nothingness. The music continued over and around me but it did not go through me again. I skipped to the next track and the next. My finger hovering over the button. Music swelled up and burst forth only to be quickly silenced. Every track held a memory and right now, the bad outweighed the good.
I looked outside again. There was no golden city. Just the grey granite streets, lit by the neon of street lamps and shop signs. My mobile phone was in my hands and I was subconsciously typing an apology text to my friends. The words came easily but I had used them often. I hoped they would understand and not try to change my mind. My thumb was just about to press send when the music changed again. I could feel the mood within me change. The blackness was still coating me but now I did not care. i was angry. Angry at the world, angry at her, angry at anyone who had hurt me over the years.
Yet I was mostly angry with myself.
The door was just there. I cancelled the message and picked up my keys.
I still had time.