Silence. Dead silence. Slowly, the sounds of rustling leaves and singing birds break the quietness. Suddenly, the sounds of the morning are shattered by the shrill ringing of an alarm. Groggily, a finger hits snooze. Blankets pull tighter. Breathing deepens. Silence falls once more. Again, the peace is shattered. Blankets pull even tighter, curling into a ball. Eyes tightly shut. Hands shake the blankets roughly. Words, curtly spoken. Get up. It’s time. With a sigh, blankets are shoved aside, hot water runs, sandwiches made, engine revs. Sitting in traffic. Cars hooting. Accelerate, brake. Accelerate, brake. Time and time again. Finally, turn right, find parking. Walk. The day has begun.
The day is like every other day. Nothing special about it. No grand adventure, no obstacles to overcome. This simplicity makes it the day to summarise a life lived. Just another day in the maze of academia. As usual, time spent with people stands out. Chat to this group, crack a joke – smiles and laughs all around. Bump into a friend – handshake, smile and carry on walking. Another group of people. More jokes and smiles. Walk into a room, sit down. Pull out notepad and pen, greet friends. Hurried smiles, then silence. The voice of a lecturer breaks through. Focus wavers, weight shifts in the seat. Eyelids droop. Tap on shoulder, jerk awake. A few more minutes… free. Time spent with friends. Hours of laughter, intense discussions, silly games and conversations. All to soon, it is time to labour. Feet drag, people hover. Goodbyes said time and again. Then. Into the vast depths of the theatre. Carrying. Ladders, chairs, tables, cages. Muscles pop and breathing deepens. Quick break and more carrying. Next, practical work – tying knots, measuring, drilling, taping. Then more carrying. Finally, finished. Step back and admire. Well worth the effort. Off home. Cavernous theatres and musty halls left behind. Empty roads, fast driving.
Then home. Warm, safe. Gentle words. How was it? Good. Nothing special. But good. A good day. Alarms set. Blankets drawn. Silence falls.