I was leaving. I had to leave, wanted to leave. Staying was not an option. There was nothing worth saving, or at least that is what my waking mind shrieked to my subconscious. Those below the surface thoughts hollowed me, rotting and tearing at my resolve to do it, to leave. The constant tick of the second hand mocked me with the false comfort of the sunrise smell of coffee. Why, how does it tock (tick, tick, tick) so much more loudly without the sun’s presence? The darkly patterned sickly swirl of wood I sit in forms shapes and words unfathomably familiar. An owl’s eye there, I’ve seen it for years; a frozen scream that once visited the nightmares of my childhood. My waking and dreaming mind got along so well then. That clock! Tick. Her small wrist, so often bruised and bent and broken. How could I leave her with no protection, no guidance?
Tock. What sort of guardian am I now?
Tick. Her weeping eyes have grown so dull.
Tock. I can do only harm.
I am left decrepit from my sleeping mind, held rigid by my waking brain. Tick. The only good memories I possess were made here, this table, this house. How much past joy does it take to void present despair? Tick. The dancing flames casting shadows on the snow disfigured with footprints and clumsy golems.
Tock. This sudden leap to the hour cues the cascade of music so easily ignored. It strikes my chest, the air suddenly disgusted by my lungs. Three times it strikes. I’m dying, I must be. Each time, it cuts into me with the reason to leave. My dreaming mind, subconscious, whatever it may be screams, pulling me down, ripping my resolve from me.
The reasons to stay are varied and many, but they cannot, are not, will never be, more powerful than the reason to go. If Midas had simply run away, how little harm would have been done.
My dreaming brain is silent, beaten and bruised. Tock.
The door is heavy with wood and glass and memories. But the winter air is biting, awakening. Feet over the threshold, door in its place behind me. Thousands, millions of separate snowflakes assault me.
There were an uncountable number of reasons to stay.
But I’m gone.