Whole-World Syndrome: Syd’s Snippets Stories

Welcome to a new thing I’m trying on this blog of mine! This is my attempt to get back into creative writing, which I spent a lot of time doing in elementary and middle school. This pastime of mine has slipped out of my life over the past several years, and I miss it dearly.

When I found myself scouring Pinterest and Tumblr for writing prompts, I knew it was time to get back into it.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up this new category of Syd’s Snippets Stories as I collaborate and find inspiration from my fellow writers on the Internet.

The following story comes from these two prompts.

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I hope you enjoy. 🙂

 

3 a.m. is that magical time of day where everything is possible and everyone feels invincible. Screw “How I Met Your Mother” and “nothing good happens after 2 a.m.” The clock on the dashboard is very clearly indicating that we surpassed the 2 a.m. barrier an hour and twelve minutes ago, and I have yet to see anything but good things happening.

11:47 p.m.

My roommate, Autumn, and I were spending this Tuesday night like most others, sitting on our couch in worn out sweats watching reruns of “Stranger Things” and procrastinating going to bed. Before I graduated college, I didn’t know that was possible. I was used to going to bed as a method of procrastination, leaving the work until the next morning.

But we knew that if we went to bed it was admitting defeat that nothing exceptional had happened that day. If we just kept fighting sleep a little longer, maybe there was a chance that stars would start falling from the sky bringing us gifts beyond our wildest dreams, or we would get a call from Nev and Max from “Catfish” saying that someone was using our pictures to be someone else online, or Ryan Gosling would show up at our doorstep, (shirtless obviously, this is my fantasy and I can do whatever I want), bearing chocolates and professing his love.

Just, something.

Something more than getting up, going to work and the gym, chatting with each other over dinner, watching Netflix, repeat.

Something.

“Sadie,” Autumn pulled me out of my haze.

“Hmm,” I shook my head. “Sorry, what’d you say?”

“I asked if you wanted this last slice of pizza?”

As I was about to answer, the door to our apartment flew open. Now, we don’t have a third roommate, and considering that we were both staring at each other from opposite ends of our couch, we should be very concerned. But because the intruder’s impromptu entrance was immediately followed by rapid exclamations and floundering hand movements, we knew it was just Peter.

Peter and his roommate, Aidan, were the Chandler and Joey to our Monica and Rachel. Since Autumn and I moved in about six months ago, Peter and Aidan have never knocked on our door, caused a not-so-mysterious lack of Oreos, and prompted questions of, “Oh, do you have a boyfriend?” because of their tendency to leave articles of clothing around our apartment.

No, Mrs. Reynolds, I don’t. Yes, I’m sure it’ll happen eventually, plenty of people are getting married later in life nowadays.

“Get in losers,” Peter said smoothly as he hopped up on our kitchen island, dangling his keys in front of his face. “We’re going shopping.”

Aidan, though more level-headed than his comrade, was often pretty dense when it came to recognizing Peter’s haphazard inclusion of cultural references into daily conversation. “I thought we were going on an excursion,” he said, reaching up to cover his yawn. Aidan appeared to be in a similar state of dishevelment like Autumn and I, clearly unable to turn down his life-long best friend’s bursts of spontaneity.

Peter sighed slightly, admitting defeat that his joke hadn’t landed. “Just let it go buddy,” he consoled, clapping Aidan on the back.

I shook my head at the pair, amused and still curious as to why they were here.

“Care to explain your late-night entrance gentleman,” Autumn requested, standing up to throw her dinner plate away. She leans against the counter, staring at the boys with her best I-know-you’re-up-to-something eyes. Teaching kindergarten really has given Autumn an edge when it comes to getting information when she wants it.

In classic Peter fashion, a sly smile slid across his face as he glanced between me, Autumn, and Aidan. Something in his gaze made my stomach flip. Peter’s spontaneity, while extremely concerning for the safety of himself and others around him at times, is one of my favorite things about him. In that one smile, certainty and adventure perfectly juxtaposed in his gaze, I knew that this was what we had been waiting for. It wasn’t Ryan Gosling (even though Peter would like to think he’s a close second to the perfectly sculpted actor) but it was definitely going to be a night we would tell our grandkids about.

“If I told you, then I’d have to,” Peter was cut off by my slightly more skeptical roommate.

“Kill us,” she questioned, her eyebrows raised.

Peter feigned shock, hand flying over his chest. “My dear Autumn McCallister I am hurt that you would place my adventure invitation with such a lowly cliché. What I was going to say was, if I told you, I would have to send you under water with only a granola bar and a monkey costume.”

I am sure that the three of us in the room that thankfully are not inside Peter’s brain were all questioning our friendship with him now.

But Peter was unfazed. He hopped off our kitchen island with a clap of his hands.

“Great, now that no one has anything else to say, I expect you ladies at my car in 15 minutes.”

After Aidan and Peter’s departure, Autumn and I stared at our closed apartment door in silence for a solid 30 seconds.

“Well,” I began. Autumn turned her head toward me, arms still crossed over her chest in reservation. “I guess we should get ready?”

“Are you serious? Who knows where we could be going? And we both have work in the morning.”

“Oh c’mon Aut,” I said, rising to my knees on the couch and leaning my arms on the back to look at her directly. “It’s just Peter. Sure, he’s a lunatic. But he’s a harmless lunatic. We used to take finals on four hours of sleep. And not in one night, over a span of three days.”

She sighed, knowing that I was right, and ran her hands over her face.

“Alright, let’s go.”

A grin spread across my face, excitement swelled up in my chest, and I raced to my room to get some more suitable clothes on. Suitable for what? Only Peter knows.

And for one of the first times in my life, I don’t seem to care.

12: 24 a.m.

 Autumn and I found Peter and Aidan leaning against Peter’s car, Aidan still looking dead to the world while Peter looked like he could run a marathon – or five.

Peter grabs his keys in his hand mid-spin and stood upright. “Excellent. Our crew is complete and our excursion can begin,” he exclaimed, waggling his eyebrows. His voiced echoed in the calm of our parking garage.

Aidan claimed his usual shotgun seat, (best friend since first grade rule or something), and Autumn and I climbed in the backseat, trying to see any clues as to where we were going in Peter’s car. We found nothing out of the ordinary.

“Welcome to our main event this, well, morning,” Peter explained as he glanced at his dashboard clock, “courtesy of Peter Arley. Please remain seated and keep all hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times, but ya know that’s always a suggestion so do whatever the hell you want.”

Autumn glanced at me, still unsure, but I just shrugged my shoulders and got comfortable. She rolled her eyes and did the same, both of us staring out our respective windows admiring the serenity of our city streets at this sleepy hour. Aidan’s perfectly timed “Late Night Drives” Spotify playlist cascaded through the speakers, enveloping the car in a sense of whole-world-syndrome.

Whole-world-syndrome: when one’s body and mind feel at complete contentment with ones surroundings and company, a state of being in which the whole world seems to exist only within that current moment

1:58 a.m.

“Hey, Sadie,” a soft voice beckoned. I felt a warm hand run up and down my arm, slowly drawing me out of my sleep. When did I even fall asleep? I sat up straighter in my seat, effectively popping the muscles in my back. I noticed Autumn wasn’t to my left and Aidan wasn’t in the passenger seat.

Looking up, I saw Peter staring at me, his chestnut hair blowing slightly with the breeze I felt ghost over my exposed skin. His soft smile screamed subtle success clearly letting me know that wherever we were it was as magical as Peter had planned. Even in the pitch blackness his features were strong and sure while holding onto his boyish charm.

I smiled at him, stretching the rest of my body. “Successful voyage Captain Peter?”

Standing at attention, he saluted me and moved out of the doorway, revealing our destination to me. “Aye aye Madame Kreski.”

I know I was purely gaping as I stepped out of the car, pulling the sleeves of my hoodie down over my hands a little more.

Peter Arely is one of the most magnificent humans I have ever met.

He fell into step next to me, that same small grin on his face as he watched me look around. We had driven to the peak of an overlook. The moonlight bounced over the lake water below us, the stars winking at us as if they had been in on Peter’s plan all along. To our right I found Aidan and Autumn, squealing as he pushed her higher on the swing set. Of course, Peter would know of an overlook that has a playground.

I glanced up at him in awe. “Well Mr. Arley, you have truly outdone yourself.”

A deep chuckle escaped him as he ducked his head modestly, hands in his pockets. We walked to the swings Aidan and Autumn have recently vacated to check out the seesaw. Leisurely, we rocked our feet back and forth, the water mostly still below us. The moon danced over it as the breeze picks up in these early hours of the morning.

“How did you find this place?”

Peter snapped out of his daze, wonder-filled eyes met mine. “My grandfather built it when he while he was in college. He was an intern for the local government. Apparently, a lot of people used to come up here, but their kids would get hurt because of the rocky terrain or something, I don’t know. So, he decided to build a playground so the kids could have a designated space to be while still enjoying the view.”

I find the gratitude swelling up in my chest for these people I am lucky to travel through my often disastrous, but remarkable third decade of life with. After graduating from college, Autumn and I were worried about how to make friends as adults. You didn’t have clubs or classes anymore that provided you with instant opportunities for friends. But we sure did get lucky with the boys of apartment 306.

“Aidan Richard Opperman if you don’t put me down this instant there will be hell to pay,” I heard Autumn yell, quickly followed by Aidan’s laughter and continued running, Autumn thrown over his shoulder.

Peter and I both giggled at our friends’ antics.

“I’m surprised he didn’t guess it,” observed Peter. “We used to come here all the time when we were kids.”

I smiled and shook my head. “Well, clearly his brain doesn’t work as well after 11 p.m.”

“His brain doesn’t work well period,” Peter retorted, typical banter shared between the two.

This moment, I decided, was better than Ryan Gosling. The beauty of Ryan Gosling would fade eventually. I mean no one can have those abs forever, right? But these people, this friendship, these “let’s go somewhere unknown after midnight on a weekday” moments were better. They would be part of my forever if I have anything to say about it.

3:06 a.m.

By the time we returned to Peter’s car we were exhausted from swinging and games of Four Square and King of the Hill.

By the time we got back to our respective apartments, the sun would be rising, for many indicating the start of a new day.

But we had already begun our new day in an attempt to achieve maximum optimization of the 24-hour period graced to all of us each day.

“We were driving for hours and it was raining and we were drifting and then suddenly I saw the light,” I was drawn back into Peter’s story by that statement.

“You thought you were going to die?” I questioned.

“No,” Aidan answered, turning back to look at me. “We saw the McDonald’s arches at the rest stop.”

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