In the blink of an eye

In+the+blink+of+an+eye

Haeleigh Bayle, Editor

The wind whistled through the bare trees as I rode my bike down the winding paths. My legs pedaled in a rythmic motion and my breath left little fog bursts with each exhale. My morning routine always consisted of riding my bike on this peaceful route. However, this brisk morning in particular has me on edge. The crows caw in a menacing manner, whereas typically songbirds twiddle a tune. The usually smooth road turned rocky and uneven. Grey clouds were enveloping the once blue sky, threatening to cry out tears of anguish.

I was mid-thought when I hit a pothole with my front tire and went sailing over the handlebars.

THUMP

I landed on the ground in an awkward position and rolled a couple times. After a moment of closing my eyes, I looked up at the sky waiting for the thunder to sound and lightning to go streaking across the sky. To my utter confusion, the sky was bright blue. I sat up quickly, grabbing my head. It throbbed slightly, but no gaping wound or drop of blood was found. I assessed my surroundings once again. The trees were in full color and the road was no longer rough looking. “Maybe I’m hallucinating now.” I stood up and brushed myself off, finding that my brand new vibrant green leggings had two rips in the knees. I then went over to pick up my bike that was laying about five feet away. The wheel was twisted at an uncharacteristically large angle, I knew I couldn’t and wouldn’t even attempt to ride it home. My head was racked again with a sudden amount of pain and I closed my eyes for just a few seconds.

I slowly opened them up and found myself surrounded by bare trees, crows screeching, and a rocky trail. I gasped and felt my heart start to pound. My palms began to sweat and fear sank in. My head couldn’t be so messed up that it kept switching scenery after just one topple on a bike, could it? Paranoid, and desperate to get back to the welcoming view of full trees and chirping birds, I closed my eyes again. I counted to three then reopened them.

Hot, summery wind tickled my cheeks, flowers bloomed, and the pavement was fresh and beckoned me to ride on it. I wanted to stay in this version of reality for forever. Maybe I could. But what reality is my reality? Is it the dreary one? Or actually this one? I may have started my bike ride seeing the dark and menacing path, but how do I know my reality didn’t flip in my sleep…

I started walking “home” but soon realized every time I blinked I saw different scenery. Fall, winter, spring, summer…the rotation lapsed over and over. I could feel my anxiety rising and my stomach churning. I felt as though I could scream. But would anyone hear me? Tears rolled down my face and I sat down on the curb of a street, dizzy from the constant switching of landscapes. I put my head on my knees. I just wanted to go home.

BEEP BEEP BEEP

I lunged out of bed to the sound of my alarm. My pulse was through the roof and I was soaked in sweat. Things started to fall into place, though. I quickly realized my nightmare bike ride was just a figment of my unruly imagination after all. I breathed a sigh of relief and headed downstairs to eat a quick bowl of cereal. I stood at the sink and looked out the window. The cloudless sky was bright and welcoming, with neighbors happily strolling or jogging past my house. I grabbed a bowl, spoon, and box of cereal and headed to my kitchen table. I looked down to pour my cereal, realized I forgot the milk, and trotted to the fridge. I happened to glance out the window as I walked by with the milk–snow covered the trees and blew in swirls around the glass. I gasped and dropped the milk. I blinked…autumnal colors burst forth and delicate leaves twirled down from the unforgiving sky.

“Oh no,” I whispered.