Who knew that staring through the window could be such a busy thing to do in the mornings. I know I certainly didn’t think of it in the beginning, because for countless minutes my eyes were busy. Continuously I kept staring into the fog, which laid over the lake. I kept imagining how it rolled in here. How cold it was during the night to cool off the whole lake and create a white thick wall of mist. The grey-white blanket, swallowing everything that comes in its reach. There was strange feeling coming from it, like a terror hugging from all sides, but it wasn’t the only thing to worry about. Something was in that fog, something unknown and perhaps mystical. Part of my mind wanted to think of it as a supernatural phenomenon. I could feel how my body devoted full attention to it, but not just the body. I was curious about it. Not every day I see fog which can swallow anything that steps too far into it and loses sight of people. The hypnotizing grey-white and think foam. Almost like a bathtub, but in the different spectrum of our reality. I felt the cold sensation coming from it, although I was sitting inside and watching it from a distance. Wonder how others don’t find it as fascinating as me, but who can blame them – each of us is different after all. After a while, I saw that I was the only one whos attention got possessed by think smoky foam lying over the lake.
For a while, I kept thinking about it. Sitting beside the morning breakfast, with other people who got sent to this place. When they drove us here to do some research, but as far it stretched, I haven’t noticed anything that I could describe as research. Guessing that first they will try to introduce each other and all the formality that comes with it. Some of my friends back in the city call it ‘breaking the ice’, whatever that has to mean. My mind kept going haywire through the different thoughts, spitting out of my conscious into the front of it so I could grasp on the though easily. It was a strange Saturday morning, perhaps too strange.
We were all in the dining room, from which, the kitchen wasn’t so far. Our facilitators never allowed us into the kitchen. Not that any of us cared about what’s happening there, it was just another room that I was curious about; the room which I haven’t explored kept calling for me. But despite the urge to explore the facility, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the fog. Munching over the same scrambled eggs we had yesterday. Probably cooks just want to take a slack, and I can’t blame them. Even I desire for a slack-off in my work – everyone does. At least they did it the right way, adding different spices to it every morning is a genius idea. In a way, it works like confusion for our minds. Like playing the same football game, but with the different ball every time. Smart, from one of the perspectives. Some might think otherwise, but so as do I.
Time was passing by the nine in the morning when I saw some strange old man walking down the pier. He looked careless from the look of his pace. My eyes switched from fog to the old man, and how he slowly walked towards the fog. Mingling from one side to the other, almost falling over the barrier and into the cold autumn water. Whenever people told me that water isn’t cold, the desire of proving them wrong and push them into it grew bigger. It was almost like in the winter – cold and without any remorse for people health. The old man wouldn’t probably care about the water because it would be his last days in this realm. None of the people inside would care about an old man drowning because the only one that cared was me. My eyes were the only thing that was noticing the old man, besides the all mighty of course. That guy has eyes on any of us – me, you, everyone. I don’t know if the all mighty would help an old man now, but I know I have to see how his walk ends. The walk into the fog for him seemed like a casual day in the park. Seemed that he’s used to it. Not like me, or the others like me – for who this fog seems like a phenomenon. Step after step he was getting closer to the last barrier of the fog, and I was about to lose him. I kept staring at him, no matter the fact that he was about to disappear into the unknown mist. How he was about to be hugged by the cold, grey-white and mysterious layer of autumn fog. The mysterious mist was pulling him into it as much as my attention to it. Something odd was coming from it. Shivers from the taste of scrambled eggs and mystical fog ran through my body. The sensation of terrifying feeling was coming from my toes to my shoulders, forward and back, without a stop. The sight of the old man disappeared after feeling shivers running down my spine. He was finally gone; gone into the fog and without leaving any trace of him. The feeling of not seeing him again ran through me. An empathy for an old man raised in me and thought of running out to check if he’s still there occurred in my head. For a brief moment, I thought how it would look if I spontaneously start pacing towards the door, and onwards to the pier. There was another thought about him, thinking that perhaps the old man is in a better place. Perhaps he fell into the water at the end of a pier, and none of us could see that, leaving the old man completely fighting for his life on his own. I know that he was still there, in the fog. But though about being the only crazy one among the others kind of made me sit still and continue munching on overspiced scrambled eggs, as an ordinary human being. Then I thought that perhaps I’m going insane with all this fog thing. Just for a second, my mind spat out an idea that it’s just another ordinary autumn morning and fog is as casual as wearing pants in cold weather.
Twisting my head left and right, watching people forming smiles on their faces. I tried to look away from the pier and into my plate, to try focus on the breakfast. Just eat the scrambled eggs and put thoughts about the old man behind me. Seemed like an easy thing to do, but curiosity wouldn’t leave me alone that easy. Every time I looked away for a few seconds, an impulse in my mind made me quickly lift my head up at the pier. To take another look into the infinite white-grey mist, hovering over the cold autumn lake. For a moment I thought that I’m going insane, and for another, I thought that someone spiked my coffee with something unusual. Perhaps it was some sort of aftereffect from booze I drank last night. I was in the brink of figuring out when I heard a voice coming from behind me.
“Is this seat taken?”
I turned my head around and saw the old man, standing tall behind me. The water dripping from his wet clothes and beard soaked with water. His eyes kept staring at me. It felt like his stare is trying to pierce through my soul and leave a stain of regret on it’s way out. I was frozen. Completely paralyzed at the sigh of an old man. He reminded me of a swamp monster I used to watch on the TV when I was a little. Horrified to the end of my toes I gathered the only words I could think of and in a shaking voice gave him the answer he came for.
“No… I… I don’t think so.”
The moment I turned back, to my plate with scrambled eggs I realized – I was alone in the dining room. There was just me and the old man, sitting beside each other. Ideas of what is happening started to go off in my head like fireworks. I wanted for this to end. Determined to finish this morning I decided to finish it as it started because I thought I’m hallucinating things. The fork slid into scrambled eggs like in a haystack – smoothe and without any interruptions. Once I dropped the piece from it in my mouth I could feel that it started to taste differently, staler and completely without a taste. Without chewing it further I spat it out. The sight of grey and pale mixture what appeared was supposed to be scrambled eggs, and it almost made me vomit into the plate. Clueless about how this could happen I thought that the old man could give me an answer. I turned my head to the right where he sat, and our looks met each other.
“Are you enjoying your breakfast?” he asked me in a low and quiet voice.
I asked him because of not being sure what was the question and flickered my eyes. The shock, which came afterward felt natural. Usually, it felt terrifying, but this time it was still and humble. I was shocked that from depressingly sitting alone in the dining room, I was suddenly accompanied by other people. They were here all this time. Before me was my friend, moving his lips like he was saying something. From the blurry background sound, my ears focused on his voice and I could finally understand what he was saying.
“How’s the breakfast I asked?” he told it like he was repeating himself. I didn’t know what to say, so I said what anyone would say.
“Good, I guess.”
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I just need some fresh air.”
I pushed my chair slightly back and got up. Without leaving a care for the plate I left on the table, I left the house and walked to a pier. The fog was thick as the cloud would lay down on earth for a nap. I wasn’t thinking about anything at all. Feet kept going forward like they had a mind of its own, and I, well I was in deep psychosis. There was something drawing me into the fog, over the edge of a pier. Something was in the water, shinning as I stopped at the edge of a pier. The bright light coming from the bottom of a dirty water. Fear, it had to do something with the fear, because as much I wanted to fear the fog, I couldn’t. It felt like breeze blanket is hugging me from all sides, encouraging me to go after the bright light. I wanted to go back at the moment my feet left the wooden pier, but it was too late. My body cramped as soon I landed into the cold water. Moving my legs or arms was impossible and I began drowning slowly into the cold lake. Now I understood from where the old man came from.