His Shadow: a short story

BY RACHELL PAK
Staff Writer

         Early in the morning, the young boy struggles to walk. Barely graduated from crawling, he is a novice at using his legs and a novice at facing the world. His shadow in front of him is bigger than his own figure. Like his silhouette, there is so much ahead of him: his first day at school, his first friend, his future. However, firsts can be scary because of the mystery of the journey, the enigma of the results. Still, it’s the dawn of a new day and life. Time will pass and years will pass as well.

        At noon, the man runs here and there. His pace is as ambitious as his goals. He is in the present because what happens now is what will define him in his future endeavors. He is alone.

        He is invincible. There is no trace of darkness and no opposition in sight. However, the sun must set some time. And just like that, the clouds come in and the sky gets darker. He gets a phone call. Then, the thud of his phone and his knees set a different rhythm to his life now.

        In the evening, the old man is taking a stroll with the company of his solitude, the only companion he seeks nowadays with the exception of his cane. His gaze is fixed on what’s straight ahead of him. There’s no planned destination, but his feet seem certain of which direction to go. They are slow but steady like a tortoise. To the untrained eye of a passerby, he is just another strange face. They don’t know his past; they don’t know his story. There is nothing out of the ordinary about him – dead parents and estranged brother but normal man. However, he wishes the perceived normalcy was his real situation. He checks his watch, waiting and wanting for the time to go by. He knows that he can’t escape what will happen later at night. Time seems to torture him because the summer days bring a later night.

       Finally at night, his familiar dark contour on the ground is gone, but the abyss of the dark is enough to realize he is alone again with his troubles. When he stays out too long, Depression and Wistfulness take their place on either side of his shoulders. They’re weighing him down and down until the clock strikes midnight, and he doesn’t get up. Motionless and lifeless but the pain and worry finally leaves his body alone. As the first rays of sunlight find their way to his body, the figure lying flat on the floor has no shadow.

        All day your shadow follows you wherever you go, but when the sun is at its brightest, that’s when you find it underneath your feet. And at night, you are enveloped with the darkness of the world’s shadow instead.

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