As Ed woke up, it quickly dawned on him that today was the day he was finally free to go. After long years in bondage, today he would finally walk free. He sat up, washed himself and dressed. His movements were pregnant with hope and promise. He was filled to the brim with optimism.
A guard came to his cell door, opened it, and walked inside with breakfast. The two shared smiles, but no words. The guard placed breakfast on the small table to the left of the bed, then briefly and affectionately squeezed Ed’s shoulder before leaving.
Ed picked at this breakfast, and then sat at the edge of his bed, staring at the open cell door for some time. He didn’t know where to begin, how to put one foot in front of the other to leave. His hope was slowly and steadily replaced with fear. What awaited him outside? He couldn’t remember a time before living in his prison, or even why he was there.
Eventually, the same guard came in and left Ed lunch. Ed ate lunch before again sitting on his bed and staring at the cell door. The door to his cell actually led directly outside. He could see the sunshine and clouds outside his door, but instead of making him feel comfort it terrified him. His cell was small, constricting, but safe. There were no decisions to make in his cell, no ambiguity or uncertainty. His reality was the cold, drab world of his captivity, and the beauty outside was cripplingly intimidating.
A different guard brought dinner, again without a word being said.
Ed ate his dinner, and afterward decided to lie down for a bit. After a few hours, a guard came and closed the door to his cell. Soon, it was totally dark.
As Ed drifted off to sleep, his last thought was the realization that tomorrow would finally be the day he was free to go. And he slept a happy sleep, full of the optimism the next day offered.