In a sane world…

Lilly woke up that morning with a very unfamiliar sensation in her stomach, so she tried to shake the sleepiness to pay closer attention to that new feeling, to understand it.

She sat up in her bed, rubbed her eyes and focused in her stomach, the usual butterflies of each morning were not there. She felt her forehead and couldn’t find signs of a fever. Little by little, over minutes that seemed an eternity, she realized she felt good. She looked at the clock. She had slept nine hours without being startled by her nightmares at all. She could not remember when the last time had been that her mind surrendered into Morpheus arms.

She could been alarmed by that unfamiliar new feeling but, on the contrary, she found it attractively unusual and interesting enough so she got up full of energy and decided to wear some colorful clothes that hadn’t worn in years and had been sleeping in the back of her closet, she didn’t make much of it though, her classic black attire could use laundering anyway.

She devoured her breakfast with a voracious appetite, but got full quickly, her stomach was too used to eating small portions of not very nutritious food and was smaller than her appetite…

Lilly went out to the street and breathed in the crisp morning air until she could feel her lungs bursting with pleasure. The vision of the honey suckle flowers over the neighbors’ fence attracted her and she cut one of the flowers, sucked on it slowly, savoring the sweetness of a very natural but forgotten flavor that was there just for her and the bees, such a strange pleasure.

When she got to the office, the building seemed grey and oppressive for the first time and she decided to adorn it with a newly discovered smile. She couldn’t avoid noticing the strange looks other people gave her but didn’t stop to question them or their reasons. Lilly took the stairs to the third floor running so she could feel her blood rushing through her veins, flew by other employees leaving them and their tired walking behind, the air behind her moved the hair on their heads and planted the seed of doubt in all of them.

She spent the whole morning singing while her little index finger kept pushing the start key of the photocopier that was processing thousands of pages of the new first-aid manual for the course that was going to be imparted the following week. Human resources had planned the training to avoid the extreme absenteeism due to arrythmia and heart attacks they have been experiencing, maybe with some training, everything would go back to normal again. And the hired nutritionist was going to convince everybody of reducing the consumption of fried foods to avoid cholesterol spikes and heartburn. Too much absenteeism and decreased productivity had to be stopped for good.

The lead of human resources called her into their office because the department manager had overheard the happy verses of “twist and shout”, “walking on sunshine“ and “I feel good  “ .  They couldn’t ignore each and every shingalingaling, they could be happily heard from every corner and cubicle. The lead explained it very clearly: the office is a sacred place of concentration and devotion to productivity and, to make it even more clear, she made her sign a written warning and a three day suspension. It was Wednesday so she wouldn’t have to come back until next Monday.

So she left the building and walked onto the street in a rapture of happiness, took the stairs down with little happy leaps, passed the reception desk singing and rushing to the door, the hours were too short to waste them in a grey building. On the way out she saw Daniel, who was frowning, as always, and who didn’t dare to follow her or to stop to talk with her for a little bit to make sure she was doing fine, in the end, he felt it was not convenient to be seen with her that day, they would think he was wasting valuable time he could be using to get all caught up with the work he had piling up on his desk.

Towards the end of that week she could be seen downtown, dancing along the avenues, purposely stopping at times to admire the colorful displays and the flower planters outside of the coffee shops, filling up her lungs with the perfume of the colorful flowers she couldn’t remember from before. Until then, she would walk briskly from one office to another, fulfilling the dozens of tasks she had to complete.
Not today. Today it was difficult to find an open ice cream shop but when she did, she dove into a huge cone of strawberry cream dipped in chocolate that melted gracefully down her arm while she kept her happy stride along the empty streets and was the innocent target of a very judgmental look from the little old lady she insisted on helping across the avenue.

And she realized she was enjoying the most exhilarating pleasure she could remember revising all her life’s memories, a wholesome feeling of being on her own and deeply satisfied.

And she couldn’t go back to the office on Monday, or to her usual life for that matter.

Now she plants chrysanthemums and forget-me-nots, daffodils and roses so she can stop and smell them every time she feels like it in an attempt not to forget they are there for her enjoyment.
In the bug-house nobody stops to pay attention to the colorful displays she has created in the many flower beds and planters, the deep contrast of the greens and kaleidoscopic reds, yellows and oranges.

Nobody even notices the dozens of butterflies and hummingbirds that are making a comeback because of all the fragrant flowers she fertilizes before each rainy day, dancing in the airborne droplets of the sprinklers that dignify the joyful display with random rainbows.

Only when it is late at night, when the colors of the flowers fade away in the darkness, she remembers the outside world and she wonders what was of all those people she used to know so well, even if now she can’t remember their grey faces very well.

Those memories last for just a brief moment though, only until the good nurse gives her the little blue pills in the tiny little paper cup and she melts away in a sweet dream that takes her floating away, along a shiny river of silvery waters and reflections. Sweet and gentle sleep of the night occasionally interrupted by the screams of the other nutcases like her who live there. Happily-crazy, colorful girl.

Photos by Roksolana Zasiadko, Blake Barlow and Saksham Gangwar on Unsplash 

© Adriana Avellino and Questions from Life – 2019- 2099. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author / owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Adriana Avellino and Questions from Life – with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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