by Laura Labno

Clara walked the street sternly. The firmness of her footsteps was reflecting her utter agitation. She has only finished her third nightshift in a row and was shattered. Her tiredness, however, rarely expressed itself through sluggishness. Usually when tired, Clara would feel strangely energised; in an abnormal, somewhat unhealthy kind of way. This was most often accompanied by many unpleasant emotions; irritation, worry, tension. She was walking relatively fast, thinking about the long night which was now only a part of her past. It was a difficult 12 hours. Long and empty. At the thought of it she remembered an impressively long tunnel through which she once drove with her dad at night. Somewhere near Berlin it must have been... Long and empty. Monotonous. She shook off this unexpected retrospection quickly as the quality of it had something too sad about it.

Elliot slept well that night, hence she hadn't much to do. He had a few seizures and vocalised a little around 4 am. She had to reassure him, give him his water, medication, that's all. The memory of his plump face softened her a little. A warm sensation spilled inside of her chest like a sip of mulled wine or something else, sweet, and warm. She took a slow breath and reminded herself to be more mindful, to be more kind to herself and her footsteps softened indeed. It was intriguing what a warm emotion could do – she thought. She reminded herself that she should be grateful for her job as at the end of the day, she was paid simply for being caring and loving to a small being. Paid quite well anyway.

The street she walked was covered with frost and a little bit of snow which was bound to melt soon. She enjoyed breathing out the warm air produced by her lungs. She wished for her agitation to melt away just like the snow was melting under her feet. Then she would really enjoy the walk. It was too easy to forget to enjoy the minutes and steps one had. Once gone, they’d never return. If her agitation could only vanish, she would give the right justice and respect to the waking winter sun, to the pink sky, to the ice glittering from the tree branches…to the few cars passing by from time to time, with strange drivers inside, who were breathing and feeling just like she was.

Her mood has improved indeed after a few minutes of thinking about it. The mind was so malleable after all. There was always hope in this. She managed to feel much better before entering one of her favourite streets in the area. She liked to look at the houses on the Church Avenue because of the way their front yards were arranged and decorated. People loved to project themselves onto spaces – she often contemplated – and it fascinated her how each of those projections was different, and yet somewhat like one another. Each house had something unique to it, of course. Something that belonged to every one of the owners' unique personae. Yet there was something shared in it all as well.

As Clara kept walking, she realised that with each step and each breath, she was adding something of herself to this reality also. To this street, and to these houses. Her existence operated on so many levels after all. In this moment she was a passer-by. A 7am guest to the empty street, and to the houses full of something that she was probably never going to explore or experience. There was no-one there who could have witnessed that she constituted a part of this landscape. Yet, if there was someone to paint it, or to photograph it, she would be a part of it indeed. She looked into one of the windows of a red bricked house, like into the eyes of a stranger. The light was on and the curtains were up; the stranger was alive, apparently just awakening. She could see a kitchen with red walls, a woman with golden hair, and round table with unwashed dishes on it. Did she get a glimpse into an intimate sphere of someone strange? But what was intimate? And who was really a stranger? At the Buddhist centre where Clara liked to go sometimes, they would always say that no-one was separate from nothing. There was no duality, only singularity. Her and the street must have been a singular phenomenon then. Non-separate and empty of meaning, only to be filled with meaning.

Out of the blue, she thought of someone she loved. It was someone who disappeared from her life a long time ago. Suddenly, she could feel him inside of herself, with an unexpected clarity. The quality of the energy which he spread around himself filled her as if she was full of him. Like during one of the few nights they spent together. Where was he now? Usually, when thinking about him – or the lack of him – she’d feel sad and lonely. But in the realm of singularity there was no loneliness. And she knew that all he ever was, was just her. This hasn’t changed and never would. He was a mirror and more than that because our reflections make us up.

She stopped walking for a minute or two. She looked more carefully at the street which was filled with familiarity. It seemed fresh and Clara felt fresh as well. It was just a few thoughts that she’s just had which made the street even closer to her. She heard steps approaching her from behind and she turned around. She thought that she looked into eyes of a stranger, but it was only herself. The lack of sleep must have affected her mind.

by Laura Labno.png


Laura is a 24 years old amateur writer, and an aspiring Clinical Psychologist, from Poland. She did a Psychology and Childhood studies degree at Bangor University in Wales and a Psychology Masters at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. In her free time Laura loves spending time outdoors, meditating, cooking for her loved ones and, most of all, reading.

Instagram - @lauraursulalabno