lt’s Almost Like Nothing has Changed – by Hanna Clough

Primrose Hill Short Story Entry

If I sit in the park and close my eyes, it’s almost like nothing has changed.

Sunlight kisses my eyelashes, my nose, the curve of my neck, each freckle. It holds me, each ray an arm, in it’s warm embrace. A light breeze fusses with my hair, tucking and untucking a strand behind my ear. It sends a shiver down my spine, raising the hair on my arms and I breathe deeply. The scent of fresh cut grass and spring flowers trails by me, making loopy circles in the air like a bumble bee drunk on nectar. There’s an energy about the place, a low buzz that pulses through the ground and shakes the branches on the trees. Laughter rings out and I can hear chatter among friends and families. Footfall from Regent’s Park road brings another wave of life.

If I sit in the park and listen to the sound of the people, it’s almost like nothing has changed.

The breeze shifts and the shadows from the leaves above dance around my eyelids. A leaf, floating gently to the ground, caresses my arm. The orange haze through my eyelids is a faraway sunset, a reminder of better days and of a brighter future. I focus on the heat, a gentle warmth spreads across my face like blush. It gazes slowly down my body, traveling across my shoulders, my hips, my feet. I am transported completely to a different time, a different place, transplanted in my memories.

If I sit in the park and dream of peach sunsets and quiet waves, it’s almost like nothing has changed.

A siren blares in the distance, my eyes open and I snap back to reality. My heartbeat doubles up, beating heavy in my chest. Another worry, another person taken ill, more uncertainty floods my brain. These thoughts stall my breathing, I am a deer in the headlights frozen with panic. Small groups of people sit in the grass, picnicking, playing football. Their joy is palpable and it slices through my thoughts, snips me free and draws me back to my summery daze. After a minute, I lean my head back and close my eyes. I breathe again.

If I sit in the park and count my heartbeats, it’s almost like nothing has changed.

Honey-sweet, the air cools my cheeks and fills my lungs. My breathing is long and calm and I am, once again, at peace. Seconds, minutes, hours slide by. The sun makes her journey across the sky, whispering goodbyes to the birds who will greet her in the morning. I am left in the cool of the evening. The breeze, stronger now, wraps me up and shuffles me home impatient in its quest to protect me. I know I will be back again tomorrow, searching for the comforting touch of the breeze and the warm embrace of the sun.

If I sit in the park and close my eyes, it’s almost like I’m here with you.

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