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Crisp White Ceilings
As I lie back on the bed, staring up at the rainbow-firework ceiling, I become aware of a strange buzzing sound at the edge of my sub-conscious. I search the room for its source and frown increasingly more tightly as it dawns on me that the buzzing is coming from inside my own head. Slowly, but with expert precision, the sound registers and the pretty little room, with its pretty little tables and pretty little curtains, begins to smudge and fray at the edges. For the sound inside my head is the sound of my mobile phone, rattling against the bedside table in my dark, pokey student room in Armstrong College. My eyes flit around Rebecca’s fantastical bedroom one final time. I gently smile at its beauty as it slowly fades into a dreamy haze.
You know, most times when we wake from an intense and infectious sleep, we don't notice those crisp white ceilings staring down from above. Most times we wake with urgency, interrupted by demanding alarm clocks, our brains too full with hurried thoughts to take our time to let our surroundings sink in. We seldom contemplate the simplicity contained with the crisp white ceilings which wait patiently for us above our beds.
And this is one of those times. I spring from my Otterburn block bed with a mighty haste, my fingers grabbing at my phone. The caller causing the buzzing has hung up so I scroll the missed call section frantically. It is Mum. 6:04pm. I rub my eyes roughly as the vision of a perfect future with Rebecca is committed to memory. The voice in the message is urgent and fraught. It tells me that I am late for our dinner at the Bella Italia on Framwellgate Bridge. Mum is worried about me. And why wouldn’t she be? So I call her straight back. I tell her that I spent some time doing research for my lecture tomorrow morning and that I must have fallen asleep. I say that I am on my way.
So now you find me sprinting down South Road having left Armstrong College as a distant blur. I didn't smash the windows of the front entrance on my way out this time. I just smiled and said hello to the grumpy porter. He didn’t smile back but it didn’t matter.
The sky above me is dark and angry, the wind howling and the rain horizontal, as if the weather understands the gravity of what I am facing. Mum will go crazy when I don't turn up at the Bella Italia on Framwellgate Bridge. But I have more important things to sort out. I must see Rebecca. She will be at a function in the Castle and there is something that I need to tell her. But you don't need me to tell you what that is.
All I can do is leave you with these few final thoughts swirling around my precious, fragile brain. The past is important, of course it is. But I realize now that it is, and always will be, something which has gone. It doesn't define who I am, it isn't a prediction of what is to come, it is not something I can hold on to, so I just need to let it go and let it be. The present is standing right before me, staring me in the face. It is what I can do something about, so I must live it with all my might because it too will soon be only a fading memory. And lastly, like I told you right at the very start, the future really is an interesting concept when you stop and think about it. That is, really stop and really think.
So as I dodge the puddles on the streets of Durham City Centre, the Castle foreground coming ever closer into view, wondering what unadulterated madness might lie ahead of me, one central thought remains. And it is the most important of all.
It is that the future, whatever that may be, is always unwritten.
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Currently looking at my own crisp white ceiling.
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