Background Noise: A Short Story

Background Noise: A Short Story

Misha Speede

April 22, 2021

The melodious music seeps into my headphones as I tuck my hand underneath my pillow. A yawn overtakes me and I hug my worn-out teddy bear in a warm embrace. A vibration jolts me awake from my lofi-universe, and I stare at the notification that washes over my phone’s screen. My face, illuminated with the brightness of the screen shifts with my pillow. Opening up at the notification, I see that it is an official phone alert. It must be serious. Is it an amber alert?  A hurricane warning? In Florida, we sure get a lot of those. The notification takes a while to load, but when it does, my chocolate eyes jolt open in confusion, curiosity, and disbelief.

“Do not look at the moon.” The lonely text stares at me, and I stare at it. After reading it, I almost feel compelled to look at the luscious moon. Moonlight begins to seep into my open bedroom window, and the 3 am heat of June floods my room. I want to look at it, but hundreds of notifications, swamp the top bar of my curious device. I squint to get a glimpse at the hundreds of known numbers and messages and try to see what they read. 

“It’s a beautiful night tonight. Look outside.” The messages flood my phone, and once again, I am overwhelmed and want to stare at the moon. Feeling my head automatically turn up, I quickly adjust my neck so I face my teddy bear. Stroking my teddy bear’s face, I look at its beady eyes. They seem to stare into my soul, souring both the good and bad sides of me. Overwhelmed by the pings from my phone, I turn my phone off and grab my pillow and bury my face into it. Instead of seeing the usual black prints that swarm my eyes, I see a rainbow of colors. Sitting on my pillow, I pant heavily and rest my head on the headboard. The force that wants my eyes to look at the moon compels me again, and I shut my eye and ball my hands into a fist in frustration. 

Once again, the screams begin again, they sound like a blur of noises to me at first, but I separate them and realize that the noises are all mine: my screams of joy, my pleads of help, my crying, my memories. My eyes are zapped open, and I cannot control the unknown magnet pulling me towards my bedroom curtain. Peeling my curtains off the hook without any hesitation I see the mystery that lays in the sky.

I am in the sky. Me, as a baby, smiling, gurgling on milk. Me, as a toddler, using the sidewalk to draw on the chalk. Me, as a child, learning how to play piano next to my sister. Me, as a teenager, crying at the back of the school. There are new scenes I don’t recall either. Me, studying in a large library, whispering with strangers. Me, riding a bike in a new neighborhood. Me, sitting in a rocking chair, sipping aged wine. Me, staring at the movie theatre screen, with a blank face. Soon, the pictures of me form a story. They form my life, whether it be something that already happened or my future. 

The last scene depicts me, sitting in a rocking chair, staring at the wall, looking at the colorful antiques that line the fireplace. 

It’s so scary yet beautiful to see everything in my life, whether I remember it happening or not. These memories are all compiled together and form a story that I try to decipher for the rest of the night.