he still had time

This is a writing exercise that I gave myself, a challenge to write about one second, one moment in time, in great depth and sensory description.
 
—-
 
there it was, finally, at once electrifying with the possibility, and terror, of what lay on the other side. a door, like so many doors opened before. this one wooden, solid, blue-green, weathered, its worn out handle sparkled in a few places where flecks of brass remained, bits of the morning sun boring into his unblinking eyes. the warm sun on his back, making his ears hot as he stood there for what seemed like an eternity, petrified, his hand frozen by his side, his shoulder yearning to reach, to touch, to answer the question of which future was about to be revealed. the air in front of him felt cooled by the door. the day was still young, after all, he could turn around. he could live without knowing what was behind the door. he cold walk away, pretend that nothing was there, his inner voice tried to convince himself it would be safer, easier, less painful to not know than to take the risk.
 
his attention shifted from the door handle, suddenly aware of something moving. a small ant. its tiny black body, almost invisible, searching the face of the door, searching the face of the door for signs of something it, too, wanted. tiny gnats hovered in the cool pocket of shade and air his body created, shielding their delicate wings from the harsh rays of light, giving them space to swarm and mate. their bodies undulating, darting, swirling in seemingly random chaos, but not chaos. each movement was calculated, measured, optimized to find a match. to mate. uninhibited by societal pressures, norms, conformity. life was too short for them. just do it, and die. he wanted to live like them for a moment, to just open the door and to die at the same time. his fingers flexed, his wrist trembled, the right side of his neck shifted.
 
a car passed by. the engine was steady, the wheels making a smooth continuous sound against the black tar, the driver unaware of him standing there. birds chirped, a dog barked, the wind gently caressed the leaves, the blades of grass, the small hairs on the back of his neck. they stood at attention, elevated by his adrenaline, his anticipation and apprehension. he let out a small sigh, and held his breath, unready to breath in again. he thought about pulling his hand back, but, truthfully, it hadn’t gone anywhere yet, which was somehow reassuring. he still had time.
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2 thoughts on “he still had time

  1. if, like you said, your attempt was to write about a moment with tons of detail, well done. That is an excellent endeavour. Just know that when you’re writing in earnest, or writing for a story I should say, this is a dangerous practise that can lose you in the forest for not being able to see anything but the trees. But many people have difficulty picking out such details, so well done, and keep up those observation skills.

  2. this truly was an exercise in observational skills. i have not written any stories, or, at least, i have not kept at writing any story that i have started. besides being overwhelmed by developing characters, story arc, plot points, etc, i usually feel underwhelmed by my attention to detail and specificity, that the writing feels flat and uninteresting. i’ve taken to reading and writing poetry, as part of a poem a day challenge, to try to write more freely and with more depth, to make things more interesting. this observational exercise was done before i started my poem challenge, and is what motivated me to start writing poems. i hope the poems will motivate me to write a story.

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