I was lounging on the sofa after a long day at work. My legs were bent so my knees would serve as an armrest; my back as arched at an uncomfortable angle; and my head was cocked obtusely to the side, as to let it rest on the arm of my couch. As uncomfortable as I was, I would not move. It was a satisfying feeling, knowing that I didn't have to move for anything (not even my own comfort).
My hand-me-down couch is a sad sight, slowly being worn down to its wooden framework. With each "plop" that it endures, after every long day at work, it grows a day older with me. I wonder how many couch years are in a human year…
Some made-for-TV movie was on. It wasn't bad. Then again, I was delirious. It was mid-June and the heat reflected it well. I was still uncomfortable, and it was already one o'clock in the morning. Not to mention, a long day at long day at work had taken its toll on me. (Like usual.)
The overhead fan was on, but it was only stirring the hot air already in the room. I guess I only had it on for the hum. An hour had passed of my conscious dormancy as the hum of the fan grew louder over the voices on the telly. I had been exhausted when I "plopped" onto my sofa, but now, I was consumed. I was, in every sense of the phrase, tuckered out. The seemingly endless darkness around me and the stinging fluorescence of the television made my eyes tired in such a fashion that it was almost painful to be awake. So, I did it. I turned off the television, and I took the plunge. I thought to myself, "Let's just get this over with. I'll lug my heavy bones up the steps, and in thirty seconds, I'll be in my bed."
I stood up.
But of course, my hastiness did not go unpunished. I had foolishly gone from point A to point C. The quick and intoxicating feeling of the blood rushing from my head took over my whole body, tipping it off balance for a moment. The momentary blindness faded in two-and-a-half seconds, but it did cut off all rational thought for a whole three seconds. However, the assuagement of standing up soon followed. The pain of my awkward position on the sofa drained out of my spine. My arm was half as light as it was when I got home an hour before, when they were dragging at my sides.
I reached my arm upward with weightless ease to pull the cord of the overhead fan. The Doppler effect of the fan made a sleepy, drunken noise as the rotations of the blades abated.
My eyes had adjusted to the dark. The vastness of my backyard caught my attention out of the corner of my dilated eye. I vaguely remember reaching my hand out towards the darkness. My arm was still half as light as it had been, so I would not be surprised if it had lingered in the air for a few minutes as I stared into the woods.
At first, it was the rich, mossy color that the sky and the trees created when their colors mixed. Next, it was the thick, black line where the trees and sky separated from each other, slowly coming into focus. It was the leaves and each blade of grass, faintly outlined and defined. It was all awe-inspiring.
It had been years, but I can still remember X's on the calendar that was attached to the wall. My mom and I would count down the days until two weeks before summer solstice. My brother and I would use a fork to punch holes in the lids of Mason jars. My heart sank when I realized that I had forgotten to count this year.
They were making fat streaks of light in the sky, like hasty strokes of a paintbrush. I could see them as far into the woods as my eyes would allow, and I could see some that were daring enough to try to take a peek into my living room. Some signaled their light only long enough for me to notice, and others flashed like the sun hitting a row of sequins.
Did you know that fireflies are the state insect of Pennsylvania? It's true, I read it on Wikipedia.
I went to bed. I dragged my feet over each mossy green step and pushed open the door to my room. Why didn't I go out? Why didn't I open the glass door and let myself OUT? The glass sliding doors were like a heart-breaking membrane between me and my backyard that night. I turned on my little electric fan and slipped between my sheets. My walls felt especially boring that night, but I stared at them anyway, and listened to the humming. That night, I fell asleep feeling very alone. Very old. Not old and wise, just old. Worn out.