A short story by John Meremetidis
It had been a rough night. Thoughts playing hide and seek and constantly cheating. Dreams like interrupted film screenings, as if patched together like split celluloid. The bright red digits of the clock frozen. His eyes pierced the shutter openings looking desperately for the first shades of grey.
Who was he trying to fool? This was it; he would have to spend the rest of the night in the company of the day’s TV reruns. The sound barely audible but the flickering screen bringing virtual life to his cold living room.
Strong coffee was the savior of the moment, ruthlessly shocking him into the state of rude awakening. The shutters now open he stood by the window, warm mug in his hands, staring at the empty street below. So peaceful, so quiet, as if all life had disappeared.
He ran to the bedroom, opened the closet and pulled out his track suit. He wanted to go out there, to be part of it all, to catch the first hues of the passing night. The moment when the street lights are switched off, leaving everything shrouded in shades of grey, like a black and white photograph.
The crisp air freshened his mind, clearing away all the pent-up feelings of the night. He entered the park and walked on the moist grass. The bell tower of the nearby church was spiking the sky, trying to force an opening for the light. It seemed to have succeeded because it was then that he noticed the first grey shades.
He paused at the small chess theatre with the empty chess table on the stage. Four seats, no pawns and a game that never started in front of an invisible audience. It was pleasantly sad, yet he moved on. There had to be some form of life in this beautiful picture he was painting in his mind.
Yes; the nearby zoo. It would be closed at such an hour, but he could still peak behind the fence. Two bears searching in vain between the carpet of leaves in their enclosure. So big, yet so small; so rough yet so gentle.
A car engine in the distance reminded him that the city was waking up. The threshold had been passed. He hastened his pace. He didn’t want to dilute his perfect daybreak scenes. With the jacket hood over his head, he hurried back home. It was the perfect morning stroll.