The air seemed warmer, the street lights brighter. She looked up at the night sky and saw it lightening in the east, the first blush of dawn at the very edge of the horizon. A single bright dot sat above that pink line, and she smiled as she thought, That must be Venus. Morningstar. I should go grocery shopping. Do some laundry. Maybe I’ll go see a movie. I haven’t had a burrito in forever.
The walk home seemed to take longer than she remembered. The new, unfamiliar air the world had seemed to take on went from being a symbol of some new hope to a novelty and then to something else entirely. No, she thought. No, goddamnit, I was happy. I am happy. I am happy!
She walked faster. She told herself it was because she wanted to get home and get to bed, that she couldn’t wait to get bed, that she just had to lie down and everything would be okay.
She realized she had told herself that very same thing not too long ago, that if she lied down everything would be fine.
It hadn’t been true.
Her brisk walk became a jog. Her jog became a run. She told herself that the tears she could feel in her eyes were just from the wind. She told herself that she just needed to blink.
That wasn’t true, either.