The sun was rising slowly, persistently. Pale light illuminating gentle slopes, peaks casting shadows into the valleys folded around them. A world spread out around her, peaceful and still. A landscape of folded cloth.
Her phone buzzed. “Do you want to talk?”
She retreated beneath the covers, back into darkness. It wasn’t that she wanted to sleep—not that her mind would let her anyway—another day was simply too much to bear. That growing light revealed the mess of sheets around her, the pile of unwashed clothes, the dishes in the corner. She couldn’t clean her room, couldn’t change her clothes, couldn’t even get out of bed.
Better not to try. Better to stay inside—to stay in the dark, where there was nothing to see and no one to see her. She recognized that she was cycling, but that didn’t mean she had the energy or willpower to overcome it.
Her phone buzzed again. A light beneath the covers. “I’m here when you’re ready.”
There was a whole world out there where the sun illuminated beauty as well as pain, cruelty as well as compassion. She wasn’t ready. Not yet. But she held her phone close.
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Story by Gregory M. Fox