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Blink

There was a moment when everything was perfect.

Like a snapshot taken at exactly the right moment.

I saw her, laughing, head thrown back, caught forever in that moment of spontaneous joy.

I was transfixed. Rooted to the spot like an ancient oak which has seen and done and experienced everything humanity is, and still stands calmly, patiently, observing.

Observing. Thats what I was doing. And it was strangely calm, considering the circumstances.

Or maybe not; after all, no one else knew about the circumstances did they?

Only me.

It was that moment before a thunderstorm, when the birds go quiet and the world goes still and holds its breath. When you look up into the sky and sense an onerous oncoming something. That split second you have to realise and take shelter before the rain comes pelting down and soaks you to the skin.

It was the experience of standing on the edge of a jubilant crowd, watching their hugs and kisses and high fives as though through an impenetrable glass wall, seeing but not hearing. On the very edge of emotion, participation, understanding.

It was that moment before you open the curtains in the morning to deep snowfall. When you stand for a second and wonder why the world is so bright and silent, why the air feels heavier, why it feels as though all the green things of the earth have gone to sleep, under a blanket of strange, pure whiteness.

It was the cliche silence before announcing the results. When you told yourself you didn’t care, but nonetheless held your breath in anticipation along with your fellow humans, becoming caught up in the waiting, skin tight, muscles taut, waiting for the axe to fall.

It was knowing that you were going to change your entire world in a split second. That once you took this step, nothing would be as it was. That the smile would die, the kisses would stop, the plug would be pulled from the music and silence would fall.

It was being powerless. All I had to do was blink, and the world would change forever.

Thats part of being human though. Have you ever tried not to blink? It is a preconditioned response  by our bodies, our helpless surrender to a power far greater than our own consciousness or desires. Like breathing or bleeding, or controlling the beat of a heart, giving it just a few more pumps before it stops forever. We can’t control that, any more than we control the sun or the weather, or that rain falling from the sky.

So maybe that exempted me from responsibility. Maybe that freed me from the guilt. It wasn’t my fault. I had no choice. Maybe I was fooling myself. Either way, intention ceased to matter. Things are as they are, happened as they happened, and I was merely the puppet.

I felt my eyes watering with the strain, my eyelashes quivering with the need to close. Were they tears? Or was it my basic biological reaction to refusing to meet a basic need? Either way, it seemed it was over.

I blinked.

And everything changed.

This post is a response to the Daily Prompt: Blink

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