Watching trees in the dusky horizon become silhouettes of themselves, I pause to suck in breath. My direction feels snuffed out like the fading sunset beyond. For the first time, I have no sense of what is next.
It’s the smoke break. A puffed cigarette stains the air. Fireflies dance in the rings of smoke while Cicadas rattle the smoldering heat from this sweltering day. I ask the sunset my question as though those final shades of yellow bleeding from the sky will answer back. What is next?
What is next? Punch out and head home. Take off my shoes, my clothes, and shower away the layers from the long work day. I’ll fade into sleep; dreams become my sanctuary until the alarm clock pokes the mind awake. I push out my breath and the thick thought of routine, telling myself that is not my question.
What is next? Make a list of what I want from life; mark the edges with vines and flowers, wrapping my goals in chicken scratch sketches of hearts and hope. I’ll stop pushing this restlessness into tomorrow. I’ll take out my compass and pick a road, letting my list become guideposts for the next journey forward.
I chuckle at the burning embers floating between my fingers; here I go again pretending to be brave against the backdrop of departing light. The night sky takes residence, while introspection twirls in the final exhale of smoke. I snub out both and begin my pace back into the job.