It was taunted me.
The empty page in the word-processor. There was a mountain of lists to the left of my keyboard, but I would not touch them today.
There were many things to do. Important sorts of things, writing final papers, summarizing the college events I’d attended for extra credit, and limiting it to five-hundred words. And then the grocery list, and the “to do” list, proudly displayed on post-it notes and colorful swatches of copier paper torn into strips.
But, in spite of all the empty, colorful, blank spaces with which to freely empty my thoughts, the only one haunting me was eight and some inches one way, eleven and some, the other. I could still see it, even when the screensaver on.
So I sat there, in my purple, plastic desk chair, staring stupidly.
The pink flower clock on the wall chimed on the hour as I watched the screensaver change into stand-by mode.
I had been sitting there for longer than I had realized. The silence made me drowsy. So I allowed my mind to wander, for I am new to this college thing. My dorm room is solitary and white-emotionless.
Yet the lack of color did not haunt me as much as the blank word document.
A tiny corner of my head touched with my heart. For a moment, I missed my family and my sister, especially. This was always our night together. The last day in October giving way to the first day in November, a glorious month of craziness to follow.
Muffling a delirious giggle in my sleeve, I tried to be quiet. It was one of our rules, Sherry and I. No laughing until the hour changed. We always cheated on that one.
The clock chimed, one hour left. My head was still comfortably filled with nonsense.
Dashing about the room, I rooted through plastic drawers for a pair of new, white socks. These were swapped out for the ratty slipper socks, while at the closet, I changed from the checkered pajama top into the lovely logoed T-shirt with a friendly, cartoon figure stamped on the front. NaNo* was about to begin. Trembling fingers worked my mousey hair into a braid and I dug out a package of peanut M&M’s from inside my pillowcase.
The clock chimed and I scrambled to the desk chair, anxiously tapping the keys, bringing my baby to life. The screen glow illuminating the empty room was comforting, as I logged in to message Sherry.
Her face appeared, almost instantly. “Ariea?” Her face dwarfed by the usual riot of curls that kept residence on her head.
“Hey sis! Ready?”
“More than you!” She teased. “M&M’s?”
“Serious as a button.”
“Shh! The time’s changing.”
Resizing the messenger screen to fit alongside the window with the blank document, I flexed my fingers and took a deep breath.
Sherry quivered with excitement, the scream begging to burst from her lips as we both whispered the final countdown.
“…three, two, one!”
I let her shriek for both of us as my fingers danced in the very instant hers graced the keyboard.
The haunting white page was quickly filled with the nonsense in my head. Things about how plastic buckets were imperative for survival on a water-based planet. How a water-based planet could exist. What people could do on such a planet and in between, the excited chatter between my twin and I covered everything from names for our respective villains to how many M&M’s we had left.
The screen clicked off.
Lights turned off.
I pushed away from the desk as the white door opened and the doctor’s aide entered. “Ariea?”
“Hello, Lucent.” I let him help me to my feet. It was a long walk back to the patient cells. This walk would be nearly unbearable after this battery of blood tests.
“Have fun?” He asked, but did not care. I was merely a valuable test subject, means to finding a cure to stop the kind of diseases that had killed Sherry.
A twinge of regret spiraled through me. I pushed it aside. I would not begrudge them their efforts to keep my spirits up. It was getting harder to remember Sherry on my own and their simulation had helped more than I cared for them to know.
“Too white.” I faked a yawn. “Can we hurry this up?”
His head bobbed as selected a needle from the cart just wheeled in. “Lie still and relax.”
*NaNo=National Novel Writing Month
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