His 4:30 alarm sounded but he had already been awake for hours.  He wasn’t even sure he had slept that night.  Not that anyone would have held that against him considering what was going on.  That is if they had any idea.  He lethargically rolled over to silence the annoying buzz with the realization that laying in the bed would not delay the inevitable.  With a groan he slowly raised himself up.  His feet touched the cold hardwood floor which sent a shiver up his spine which he could not control.  As his feet became accustomed to the temperature he began to stand. His joints ached.  The previous day’s activities had taken a toll on his body.  The bathroom that was only just a few feet away may as well have been miles.  With each step he was reminded of the pain he was in.

He began his morning routine as if it were any other day.  As he adjusted the temperature of the shower he winced in pain.  He never could seem to remember the shower starts at scolding hot before cooling off.  Brushing his teeth while waiting for the shower to adjust he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror.  Wiping away the condensation to get a closer look he was astounded but what he saw.  This was not the man he was.  His features had hardened, lines more pronounced, and his hair was more salt and pepper than it was black.  Over the last few months he hadn’t had much time for vanity.  He began to wonder what it was that aged him so quickly.  Perhaps it was the planning, the studying, or the burden of knowledge.  Or was it the fight against fate.  The struggle to, against all hope, not accept what was to happen.

Looking out the window the world looked very different but at the same time familiar.  The dark and cold shadowed the things he would easily recognize during the day.  The small circles of light form the lamps above offered brief pictures into normality.  Hopping into the shower gave him a slight shock.  Although it had cooled off it was still much warmer than the air outside.  For a few moments he stood there.  Letting the shower warm him and rinse away some of the fear.  He enjoyed the feeling of the water flowing over his body. While he began to relax he realize how little sleep he had actually gotten the night before and regretted not taking the pills the doctor prescribed.  Immediately he turned he temperature down even further in hopes the cold water would awaken him but I was to no avail.

Stepping out of the shower he gabbed for his favorite towel.  It was oddly comforting.  Was it the familiar texture or the feeling of saying good bye to an old friend?  Either way he tossed it onto the floor as he had always done.  He finished his morning routine and sat down for a cup of coffee.  The bitter warm was a welcomed feeling, helping to overcome the fatigue.  He opened his paper.  “No mention of it,” he thought.  And why would there be?  No one else knew, and no one else cared.  Tossing the paper aside he took the last gulp of coffee before walking out the door.  Perhaps for the last time.


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