I still remember the day my mother took me to the edge of the Garden of Eternity and said, “Tomorrow, you have to stop being mad at your father and planting fear of him in people’s minds.”

So a month ago, I went on a writing contest submission spree where I wrote a bunch of short stories and submitted them. And what do ya know, I actually won one of those contests.

The winning tale was the story I made a post about before, the one about a guy named Tomorrow who falls in love with a human girl. It was by far the easiest and funnest story to write. And as opposed to other shorts I’ve written (aside from Hour of the Wolf), it went far.

In addition, the sheer amount of positivity the news of being one of the winners carried got me out of a serious writing slump. After having restarted my WIP, I was facing a lot of doubts about myself and my writing. It was a scary chasm, trust me. And this news was a huge relief. (I hope you don’t think I’m bragging by telling you all this because I’m not. It’s just that everybody needs a bit of positive affirmation on their work from time to time. You know, to make sure they don’t suck.)

So without further ado, I present to you The Day Tomorrow Fell In Love:

I still remember the day my mother took me to the edge of the Garden of Eternity and said, “Tomorrow, you have to stop being mad at your father and planting fear of him in people’s minds.”

And I remember saying, “Then maybe he and Today should stop stealing people’s chances of knowing me .”

She sighed then. A tree beside us bloomed to life. Fiery petals breathed and the wind carried them away to a forever unknown. “They can’t help it now, can they. Your father has to follow Time’s orders. So do we all.”

Time, it was always about Time and his ridiculous orders.

I never understood him, just as I never understood people. My brothers, on the other hand, never had that problem. Yesterday spent his days swimming in the River of Memories. Today got to visit Earth everyday with our parents. And I, I got stuck biding my time in the Land of Daydreams and traversing the Caves of Planning.

I saw people there, sure, and I got to know all of their hopes, fears, and calculations, but they never got to know me. Nobody heard me whisper reassurances to them in the night or saw me paint hope over their black despair. Of course, nobody saw me scream desperately about the day they would die either, but those outbursts were to be expected from a guy who was trapped in a perpetual cycle of uncertainty.

I thought it would go on forever, this varied monotony, this life where nothing seemed real, and nothing lasted, but it didn’t, because one day I fell in love.

She was a lonely girl. She had lost everything and every night she prayed for tomorrow to come because she couldn’t face today.

She prayed for me to come. Her despair was unlike anything I had ever felt before and that only made me hate my father and brother more. Death and Today had fragmented this girl’s reality into nothing.

When I had found her, she was this half soul, barely clinging onto life. She was almost gone. So I spent all my days in the Land of Daydreams and painstakingly coaxed her brightest hopes out of that seething darkness. Seeing even the shadow of her smile was enough to keep me going. And maybe I would have been content with this, if one day, after having fallen asleep at a table littered with funeral bills, had she not shown up in front of me.

In the land of Daydreams, where no human had ever been before.

I almost fell flat on my face when I saw her.

She blinked at me. Her eyes were wide open and filled with such aching beauty that for a long moment I could only stare.

“Who are you?” she asked. Her strained voice sent a shiver of echoes across the land. Trees swayed and the sky flickered a hundred shades of violet.

“I’m Tomorrow,” I said because I couldn’t lie. I could twist the truth through the lens of people’s perceptions, but I couldn’t lie. However, in that moment, I felt as if someone was twisting my perception. Lying to me.

How could a human be here?

“Tomorrow?” another tremor shook the land. She smiled and a tremor shook me. “It was you I saw in my dreams.”

I shook my head. I didn’t known people could see me as anything other than a mere reflection of their own hopes and fears.

She reached out. “It was you.”

I reached out too. She was mesmerizing.

Our fingers almost brushed, almost touched. The moment stretched on for eternity and it was over in a flash. A bright, white light exploded all around us. When I opened my eyes, the girl was gone.

I thought it had been a trick. That Time was punishing me for calling his rules ridiculous but after that day, another strange thing happened. Even though the girl never returned in person, she was able to talk to me through her daydreams. And I could talk to her because by some miraculous mistake, that was possible.

Someone was getting to know me. Not Today. Me. Tomorrow.

I told her all about her future and her hopes. I was a sweet talker, so I painted her the most elaborate landscapes of things that could be. Of worlds she could live in if she could get out of her despair.

“You could be a successful lawyer or a traveling photographer,” I told her. “You could have fame and money. You could feel happy and loved again.”

She smiled and tapped my nose. “Only if you’re with me.”

Then she showed me her dreams. Reflected in all of them was an energetic young man with stars in his eyes and possibilities in his smiles. He walked with a confident saunter and did everything with an enviable surety.

That guy was me.

I laughed. No one had ever shown me what I looked like.

The world opened up to the two of us as we defied Life, Death, and Time. We were unstoppable. And we were together.

I helped her plan for all sorts of accomplishments: paintings, novels, cures for cancer, animal sanctuaries, a cruise around the world. We even imagined how some of those places would be like. We were almost there, we almost could see the paint, feel the fur, taste the sun. It was ours for the taking. And it wasn’t until Today came to the Land of Daydreams that I realized the errors of my ways.

With a sinking sensation, I saw that I was living a lie.

An elaborate, deceptive daydream.

An unrealized vision.

“That girl is becoming weaker,” Today said, watching people’s hopes for tomorrow roam through the expansive fields of green. “I don’t know what you’re promising her, but whatever it is, you have to stop, Tomorrow. You have to loosen your grasp.”

“What’s it to you,” I said, feeling bitter. “You and Father took everything away from her. I brought her back to life.”

“Yes, you brought her back to life, but you’ll drive her right back to father if you keep her trapped in this,” he waved his hand around, “this uncertain Land of Dreams.”

“It’s Land of Daydreams,” I muttered, barely stifling the urge to smack Today.

But of course, he was right. My brother was always right. He had experience in these matters.

I was Tomorrow, I should have known. I should have known, but because I was in love, I was too blind to see.

“Do what you have to do,” Today said, patting me on the back.

With great difficulty, I nodded.

The next time I found her waiting for me, I greeted her with a smile, even though the pain was tearing me apart on the inside.

She smiled too, falling into the familiar rhythm of our dreams. Her dreams. Travel, late night walks, Nobel Prize speeches, sunny afternoon brunches.

I stopped it.

I froze us at a French café with steaming cups of bergamot tea. I looked at her. Her eyes were impossibly beautiful. Impossibly human.

Her body was impossibly thin.

“It’s wonderful here,” she said, unsuspecting of what was to come. “I thought we could go hot air ballooning next but if you want to linger here, I don’t mind. This is thrilling too.”

“Do you think so?”

“Yes.”

I smiled. “Good. I’m glad.”

That day, I let her talk to me one last time. It hurt me but I smiled and nodded anyway. I knew I would see her everyday but we would never meet each other again. Not like this.

When she was done telling me about all of her dreams and showing me where she would like us to go together, I took her hands into mine.

Her impossibly fragile hands.

With a deep breath, I said, “You will do all those things and more but without me.”

Her brows furrowed. “What?”

“I love you. I will always be with you,” I said and using all the might I had, I pushed her back into reality. “Thank you for knowing me.”

And with that, I let her go.

She cried for days. I did too.

Eventually, Time came down to the Land of Daydreams and sat by me until I felt better. Until the pain no longer threatened to choke me. Eventually, Today made all her dreams come true. And our mother visited her, twice, with offerings of life. I stayed by her side too, just as I had promised. I stayed by her side and made sure that her dreams were studded with bright stars and that her tomorrows were filled with thrilling possibilities of something more.

 

Thank you for reading. Don’t forget to join the club!

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2 thoughts on “The Day Tomorrow Fell In Love: Sweek Writing Contest Winner

  1. Wow, Shahzoda, this is beautiful! ❤ Well worth its win, and a gorgeous story. I love how you weave the ideas of time into the narrative as characters, and give us a glimpse of the woman’s life to come. The melancholy affair between her and Tomorrow is very touching, and carries so much weight. When we look ever to the next day, we can fail to live in the moment we have right now. It’s an important message shared so well in this story.

    Congratulations! And thank you for sharing this with us. Your light truly shines. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your words and support so much Mayumi! I’m glad you liked the story and thank you for taking the time to comment (I always like to hear what you think)! 🙂

      Like

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