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A Knock Awakening Reasoning

The creative writing class presents another hit with Aspen Deforest’s short story, A Knock Awakening Reasoning. Recently, the class has been working on creating short stories. Out of all of the selections, Mr. Rafferty had chosen Aspen's story as it displays a beautiful portrait of loneliness. The story showcases a man finding feelings of usefulness and love since the loss of his wife with this new cat. Below, senior Aspen Deforest has written a phenomenal story, exploring themes of solitude, grief, and the impact of new connections.


A Knock Awakening Reasoning

A brisk gush of chill air crept from the crack of the window. It permeated through his ajar

bedroom door and into the rest of the home, as a silent thud crawled its way from the front door,

up the stairs, and disturbed the eerie silence of his insomnia. Taking advantage of any distraction from his loneliness, he emerges from his bed and endless thoughts, leaving an indent of his body carved into his warm sheets next to the silk pillow she used to sleep on. Shivers shoot down his spine, and he is confused as to whether it's the midnight breeze finally hitting his bare skin, or the anxiety forming from the foreign noise coming from outside.

His first step reveals the second clear sound he has heard all night, an elongated creak of the floorboards, thawing the reality that froze while he counted sheep for hours. When he

approaches the light switch and flicks it on, the lights ease into brightness, still too quick for his

eyes to adjust comfortably. It illuminates the headache already present, fogging up his head like

the ground outside. Then the singular thud returns again, prompting his now swift descent down

the stairs. Slowly, he articulates heel to toe movement towards the front door, not wanting to

catch the attention of whomever is outside.

He tries to observe through the peephole, but the clouds swarming the ground impair his vision, and he is forced to open the door. The hinges produce a creak, coherent to the floorboard beside the comfort of his bed, and he reminisces the armor of protection he felt cuddled up in his soft, weighted blanket. He wished his curiosity was as meek earlier, as it is now, with timidity slowly overpowering it.

All of the craven blood that pulsed through his veins stopped flow immediately, drowned by the intensity of confusion swarmed from the knock's lack of causation. When he finally got the courage to swing the door open, there was no one there, but a ragged cardboard box. It laid empty in the middle of his porch, the old light casting a golden hue onto the vacancy. Then, a bolt of awakening prevailed over his state of skepticism, as he felt a brush of warmth caress his exposed legs, easing the uptight hairs developed from their exposure to the bitter, autumn night.

Whiskers tickled him and a giggle erupted from within, a sense of contentment finally inching its way into the night. Caution, a vehemence not peculiar to tonight, also returns, as he scoops the petite feline into his broad arms. He slowly moved his hand between its soft ears and slightly caresses, the cat instantly purred. The sound permeated an air of comfort, and his eyes slowly started to droop as he made his way back upstairs, the cat still cuddled into his arms.

He crawled back into his spot in his bed, gently placing his new pet on the bed. The cat curled itself into his abdomen, and they slowly drifted into sleep. This is the first night in months he was able to clear his head, the purring noise calming all his nerves.

Beeeeeeeeeeeep!

A noise that hasn't startled him sense his last good night sleep, usually never having

slept to be able to wake up to it.

"Has anyone ever missed the sound of an alarm before?" He questions himself. But to

him, he still sets his alarm for her; He misses having to wake up early for her. A slight pressure to his side awakens him slightly more, and he peers to his side to see a cat stretching itself out, having just woken up too. He finally has a motive to get ready again, he has something he has to take care of.

No collar, no tag, no owner. No address, no home. This cat has nowhere to go. This cat has no home, and definitely is not healthy. It needs to go to the vet, so he needs to get ready for the day. He doesn't remember the last time he has gotten ready. Maybe it was the last time he was supposed to meet up with her, when she didn't show, and when he had to find out why from the radio on the way home. All he knows is that he misses his other half.

He misses the intimidation he felt when he looked into her eyes. Not the bad kind, but the one that gave you a shiver of excitement, not wanting to make a wrong move under her undivided attention. Or even catching a quick glance at the same, the shock of enthusiasm it gave him each time, as he realized his love for her could never dwindle. He knows it still won't even after she is gone, in fact it just makes all the little things explode into more; He finds himself lost scrolling through old photos or videos, listening to past voicemails, or ordering her favorite thing off the menu instead of his own.

In fact, he is doing it right now, the ache of her absence sucking him away from simple,

daily tasks. He doesn't realize when his head gets wrapped around her, it's how he catches

himself lying in bed for hours on end, reminiscing until his mind spirals into exhaustion. And for

a second time that day, his new cat snaps him back to reality. He hears it meow, it's the first

sound he's heard that didn't escape from his own mouth, and it startles him. Although his new

friend is anxiety-inducing to his current solitude lifestyle, this was the push he needed to climb out this hole of grief he dug, and back into the real world. His lack of motivation will be

reflected on the cat, and he can see the effect that not taking care of someone, including yourself, can cause.


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