Literature The Change Issue

Fiction: Day 281

"Living had become a burden, ever since she had committed the murder."

By Sharifah Alhinai

Image: Shutterstock.

It was foolish to step out into the world with her naked face. Her days of naivety had taught her that. Bravery was not a virtue. Not in her case, at least.

She frowned at the masks resting in the basket by her front door. She wondered which one tomorrow would demand her to wear. As she took today’s off, she had to remind herself to be gentle. The mirror mask was the most popular of them all and she’d definitely need it again. She figured it would be wiser to decide tomorrow, when her mind wasn’t as fogged by fatigue. People exhausted her.

She threw herself onto her bed, kicking off her heels as she pulled the covers over her. Impatiently she awaited sleep’s sweet escape. Living had become a burden, ever since she had committed the murder. At least that’s what everyone else believed had happened. She kept the truth to herself.

Everyone around her had encouraged her to do it, to kill her old self, and even prided themselves in being her accomplices when they thought the deed was done. But she could never get herself to do it. She didn’t want to do it. Being herself had never bothered her.

But soon the isolation agonized her and the continuous ringing of their unsatisfied remarks left her with no peace. She didn’t want to be a leper. Under the duress, she made a compromise. Instead of killing herself, she would hide it.

280 days had passed since the compromise, each heavier than its predecessor, each stealing another piece of her serenity. The fact that she was finally accepted no longer consoled her loss. She routinely contemplated retreating and fantasized of roaming the world bare again. But that would mean roaming it alone and she didn’t want that. She glanced at the clock before sleep mercifully swept over her.  It was 12:01 am of day 281. 

Sharifah Alhinai is the co-founder and managing storyteller of Sekka.

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