I live for those gentle winds against my thighs as I open my balcony door towards the tranquil rustling of tree leaves. I let myself dissipate into the anonymity of the darkness, reflecting upon the time in my life when I had feared the murky unknown for its beautiful uncertainty. I set my speaker down on the wooden railing as I have countless times before, playing crash by EDEN from a playlist created after the quiet yet sharp fallout of another budding friendship.

I held a cigarette in my mouth and used my right hand to flick the lighter while using my left to create a barrier against the wind. I hold my cigarette up against the wind and let the ashes fall off the side of my balcony. I gloomily smile at the irony. Four years ago, I wouldn’t have even touched a glass of wine. I had not even been introduced to the idea that I could never achieve the dreams I created. But, here I am, profoundly changed from a couple of circumstantial events that had happened to me within the past couple of months.

I let the music consume my attention away from my more immediate stresses, paying detailed attention to every transition and lyric. I smile at the irony; the majority of my playlists comprise of artists that I had not even heard of two years ago. Sometimes, I would pull up a playlist I created a couple years ago, hoping that I could relive the moments that had motivated me to create them. In those same moments, I would be tempted to write about my past to construct some sort of closure for events that have not rushed past me.

It scares me — how fast the night changes. Every moment, I grow older. I continuously fill my life with reasons that make experiencing the summers more and more difficult, and I ask myself: is this what it feels like to be human? A natural propensity towards self-destruction? It seems so. I cannot imagine a more fitting attitude for approaching my 20s. I would live my twenties with a dim orange flame, dedicating my efforts towards finding fulfillment in my work but also to creating memorable moments with those that mean the most to me.

I find beauty in the silence. I am, once again, reminded of the indifference of the world. I am cherishing the bliss that nature and technology have afforded me, but I understand that I am not the subject of the elements I perceive. I can appreciate the beauty without taking part in the beauty; I can observe the pulchritude because I am present, but such moments exist infinitely without me there to observe. The world passes by, and I am only here for a finite amount of time to observe — not take part. The world lives on forever; I don’t.

The mosquitoes do not bite. The cold has killed them. Winter is coming.