A New Life (A Story)

The apartment was mostly empty yet filled with echoes with her every movement. It would take time to fill it with the residue of life; that she would do so wasn’t in doubt. A mattress, a chair, and a couple of bar stools comprised the inventory of her life. It was more than enough for now. The truth is that although she had a life of accumulation until now, she was a woman of few necessities: family, affection, laughter, and learning. That she had one lightbulb for all her lamps amused her.

Her new life hadn’t started in the way that she had hoped. Instinctively, she knew that it never would. A violent and uncaring outburst propelled her out and away from her accumulated comforts. It was the culmination of years of neglect. Her optimism and loyalty held her there, static and suffocating. That same optimism pivoted her focus toward the years ahead. Each day, she resisted the tentacles of her previous life as they scurried along behind her, attempting to hold her in place. People want you to be the person you’ve always been, even if that person could soar in the clouds with the proper attention. Love wants you to morph and change with time. She knew that all the people in her new life would wish for her to spread her wings.

She meandered around the apartment, listening for the sounds of her new neighbors, hearing the clicks of the ice machine as it methodically dropped fresh ice cubes in the plastic bin in her smaller fridge. Her eyes moved along the living room floor, planning where her new furniture might be placed, what colors she might choose, and what things she might want. Whatever those things might be, she would select all of them with freedom and opportunity in mind. Each choice would be hers. She loved the way that settled in her mind.

After a few minutes, she sat in her chair in the corner of the living room, pulling a throw around her for warmth. Placing her phone on the charger nearby, she picked up her book and began reading. She picked up a pretzel or a tiny bit of chocolate and nibbled every few minutes. The minutes flowed around her and enveloped her. Her mind followed the book, and she forgot herself as she read.

A faint noise from a nearby apartment roused her from her reading and thoughts. She looked up and around the apartment. How empty it seemed. Yet, for the first time in a long time, she felt like her life was her own. The echoes of emptiness would be filled, her circle of like-minded people who appreciated her would grow, and her new normal would be the life she craved.

There was no hurry.

Her life had begun again.

Choice by choice, she would fill it.

A smile crept across her lips.

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