The Day Off

Clive couldn’t remember when he last had a day off.

A full 24 hours where he had no-one he had to contact, nowhere to go, and nothing pressing to do.

Terrified by the prospect of a day with seemingly infinite possibilities, he sat in his chair.

He’d woken up at the usual early hour, had breakfast, showered, and now there was the agony of choice. What to do with his day?

He mulled the question for some time before realising that he couldn’t remember the last time he just sat in his chair with his own thoughts.

He glanced at the phone on the table. It was still in reach. He could contact friends. Learn something. Laugh at something. Fill this silence with pixels and all sorts of stuff.

But, for once, he was in the mood for silence. It didn’t happen often anymore.

Then he heard the birds singing outside.

When was the last time he’d heard them? Truth be told, he’d sort of forgotten they were out there.

They seemed to be beckoning him. “Come outside, Clive. It’s a lovely day.”

He went to the window and looked into the garden. He couldn’t see them, but they were right – it was a lovely day.

When was the last time he just walked around?

It wasn’t long before he was standing on top of a hill nearby. He used to come here a lot as a child, but it had been a while since his last visit. He’d deliberately left his phone- and the digital temptation that came with it- at home.

Instead, he gazed out at a patchwork of green and brown that seemed to stretch on forever and took a deep breath. The deep, burning orange of the early winter sunset gave everything an other-worldly glow. It wasn’t quite as if it were aflame, but everything appeared to have a certain warmth to it that didn’t quite match the freezing temperature.

Clive watched his breath as it hung in the air, desperately clinging to each passing moment before it finally evaporated into nothing. Trying, and ultimately failing, to linger just one more second.

He silently made a promise to himself that he’d do this again soon.

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