120 minutes

She was always told to never run away from problems, that brave hearts are never afraid of the challenges life randomly presents.

But not right now.

Her heart was not a courageous shield today. It had started running long before her limbs. Beating at an inconsistent rate, increasing its drumming with every passing second. A panic attack was starting to creep, making it difficult to swallow. The tremble running through her fingers was getting harder to control so she did exactly what her heart did, she ran.

The cry from her muscles being waken up from disuse was completely ignored as she pushed forward, trying her hardest to not bump into rigid shoulders. The last thing she wanted today was people giving her angry glances, generously throwing curse words at her.

She ran till she was out of breath. She ran because she needed some air. She ran till she could not recall why she was doing so and was one breathe away from falling over as her mind starts to cloud over. That was when she stopped and dropped herself on the vivid green expanse of the park, completely ignoring how the fresh dew is making her skin shiver, goosebumps starting to cover her tan body.

She shut her eyes for a long time, at least that was what she thought. She could not care less if it was a couple of seconds or if it had been hours. She had no space whatsoever in her mind to think about time.

The chirping of birds, casually resting on the crooked branch calmed her down. The music a pleasurable distraction and she opened her eyes to a couple of grey sparrows. If the sparrows could sense feelings, they would probably fly away as far as they could. Nothing that resonated from her presence was pleasant. Her aura emanated extreme fear, sparks of confusion and even the silent pain of not knowing how to feel. The ends of the grass were starting to make her ankle itch and the hem of trousers are slightly mudied as she continued to stare at the birds.

‘How.’ she whispered to herself. Should she see a doctor and seek help? Could she possibly be experiencing a mental disorder? Who could possibly help her now? How could she make sense of all of this?

Maybe it was just a one time thing. Maybe it will not happen again. Maybe there was just no explanation for it just like most things in this world. Like how babies knew that they had to breathe as soon as they were delivered or how the planets’ orbits are circular and not angular.

She played with her hands just so that she had something to do.

‘How’

Her skin feels rough and she skims over the small scar she had on the side of her right pinkie from when she was 10 and adventurous.

‘How’

With her eyes still closed, she thought of the classes she missed today. Maths.

‘How’

She thought about her flat at the corner of the main street. How the shower would never work seamlessly and the old washing machine placed at a very odd place in the kitchen. Pictures upon pictures of her dearest ones all over her wall in her room and the thought of that brought a smile as she slowly tried to compose herself and continue her day like it was just any other day of the semester.

‘Hey?’

A voice panted from a close range on her left. It was not a familiar voice, so she passed it off as a stranger passing by and continued thinking of her warm duvet and how it would feel good to get back home and be in her teal covered sheets.

‘Hey.’

The male came closer, a step away from invading her personal space and she was getting a little scared and annoyed at the same time. Involuntarily she furrowed her brows and stopped playing with her fingers.

‘You there’ he pants. ‘Lying on the ground’ he had to stop to take a breath and she guessed that he must have been running.

Her eyes opened abruptly and she sat up as swift as she could, turning to the source of the disturbance, giving him a not-so-friendly glare.

‘You should be less careless next time’ he pointed with one hand as the other one rested on his knees. His head slung down, a black cap covering his face.

‘What?’

‘Try not to leave things behind’ he raised his head up and she recalled the face she was looking -now staring- at. Same bronze skin with eyes that crinkled at the sides, she recognised the barista from previously.

He pulls out a dark blue purse from his pocket and hands it over. ‘Especially not something as important as this at least’

He chuckled while looking down at his jet black trainers. His fingers were still curled around the purse, hand stretching out but she was not showing any signs that she was going to take the purse from him.

‘How did you…’

‘You took off all of a sudden like you just saw a ghost or you were possessed and I saw you sprinting towards the park…’

He should probably stop and notice the half annoyed, half confused look plastered on her face while she attempted to cover her expressions hoping she would not come off as rude.

‘But obviously not being a mind reader, it took me quite a while to locate where exactly you are in this massive area. God knows what my manager would say now when I get back.’ He continued to ramble, arms resting on his hips, purse still in hand. Beads of sweat were starting to form on his forehead but he did not bother wiping them away, the sight of a little boy chasing his golden retriever as if he would lose him otherwise kept him distracted.

‘I mean, it’s not as if we’re all that busy. We have new workers coming in recently and they have been keeping up quite well to my surprise.’

She wondered for a second if she had even asked anything related to his job but she had not and so her mind took her back trying to remember what exactly she had said to cause this peculiar stranger to start telling her things she could not care to know.

‘I could not just leave your stuff in the cafe and wait for you to come back. Honestly, it seemed as if you weren’t going to come back and if you really didn’t, I’d have to send this off to the police station and make a report which isn’t necessarily what I would like to use my time out of work for. All those forms and having to talk to people in uniforms’

‘You are in one.’ She interrupted, out of a sudden.

‘In what?’

‘A uniform.’ She pointed at the dark green apron he was wearing, that covered his entire front with an intricate logo in white. He looked good in it, well as good as anyone could ever be in an apron that is.

‘You know it’s different.’

She did not bother to answer.

‘You can take your purse anytime now’ Hand outstretched, waiting for her to take the goddamn purse from him.

‘Thanks, you didn’t have to.’ She took it from him and started to
pick on the lose thread along the zipper. ‘It’s not like it’s important when I can’t even remember my days anymore.’ She mumbled under her breath, looking away.

‘I’m sorry, what?’

‘I didn’t say anything.’ She lied just so that he would go away. ‘I said thanks. That’s all I said.’

‘Yeah, don’t worry about it. I guess i’ll head back now and and hope I don’t get my pay cut from being out too long.’

She had stopped paying attention to him by now. Buds are starting to grow from the bald trees around her. It is already spring based on the calendar but this year, the trees are taking their own sweet time to adjust and transform the the town into a romantic shade of pink.

‘See you next time you drop by then. Maybe I could give you free coffee if I’m around and yeah, just say hi.’

The boy from earlier have caught up to his dog and is currently hugging him with all his might to stop the dog from running away again. His parents a distance away, laughing at his futile efforts.

She could not exactly remember the moment he left or when she started being alone again but it made no difference. She was doomed anyways.

She fell back, hitting her head hard on the ground and closed her eyes. She grunted at the pain and wished everything would just disappear and this day would just end and her mind would just start working again and her memories would come back to her. And everything, everything will be okay again.

The cold wind blew her hair away, strands covering her face leaving her looking almost ethereal.

The same gush took her consciousness away.

Her time was up.

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