Passing By, Miles Hudgins, Digital Photography, Class of 2019

Through Glass Panes and Bug Screens, I See Mortality

1:30am| With open eyes and ears unclogged, police lights; red hues and blues flash in an instant, they U Turn under an orbiting Mars and a dim sun, driving out of my peripheral. I can’t sleep while my thoughts are awake. My grandmother died before Christmas and it got me thinking. Death is passed down by genetics, every family member possess the capability to die, a raindrop must have slipped through a window crack, my cheek is a bit wet now.

1:42am| Pitter-patter of cold rain drops float through the fog with fury that blankets outside my window, down below the slurred laughter and breath amps the vodka on their soaken lips. The bars are closed and they set the lambs free. I have gotten up to grab my laptop; it’s been about 4 years since I’ve composed myself in a tiny dark room. I have my thoughts and no one else, my roommates sleep with pita chip crumbs and cigarettes pulled from their teeth, piled in ceramic on a hand-me down table, as they slumber on their whiskey-stained sofa.

1:52am| The rain turned from fights into folk songs, it reminds me of the bus on the way to school; or the time our family drove to Connecticut from New Jersey in a blizzard watching the snow caress the window; me and my sister were jammed, packed in the back of the Ford 250 (or was it a 150?) with three dogs; that was almost 10 years ago. But time in this little dark room seems so still under all these blankets of cotton and rain.

1:56am| Proofreading before bed is a new milestone for me. The experts say to not be on any electronics before bed, but I can’t resist the temptation of tangling with these somber thoughts before my slumber. I figured my brain was beginning to work but the rest of my body fell asleep. I’ll tire my brain out, I’ll put him through a marathon of emotional hurdles since he wants to play games this late at night. Laughter outside is slow yet sporadic.

2:00am| Thinking of my family, I left in a hurry on Friday. I couldn’t stand it there. My sister asked if I was glad to go back; I answered honestly. I can hear more people from the street, a boom of low vocal vibrations shook the building, the rain continues to play on. But I can’t stop thinking of my family; the people outside continue to scream with a happiness that sounds like something I’ve never felt. Or maybe I have at some point. Approaching 2:01 the tires on cars spin with the earth in haste to bring a new day, pulling asphalt from the weather-stricken roads with green hues glistening in the water’s reflection on my pane.

2:04am| Will people hear my laughter, or listen to my song? I vive for attention, at an unreasonable hour, yet I beg to be heard but cannot even speak. The lambs bah getting into their Ubers but the downpour plays an encore. In a raindrop beat, the voices contort from excitement to expletives, the rain must have washed everything away during their set. Some days I wish the rain would wash me away.

2:05am| The lights from the kitchen came on; they said hello through the gap under my door, but I’m busy drowning in thought. I’m thinking of my grandmother’s death again; this is the second time tonight. She lived in Texas so far away, but that’s what she wanted. But I never understood anything she wanted. On the night she died, my mother pulled me aside. There were no tears, no rain, no voices. Silence had come over us both. Like a blanket. Before the silence, I heard her walk down the hall with no caution, my mother knew exactly what she wanted to say. The trees were quivering, branches breaking and pinecones fell to their final resting place. With a swift axe swing of words, on impact stern silence, she said with empty eyes: “This was my mother’s final f— you.”