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Did you know that the days are not, in fact, 24 hours long? They’re actually 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.091 seconds. That’s how long it truly takes the Earth to complete a rotation around its axis. Consequently, it does not take the Earth 365 days to complete its orbit around the sun. It’s actually 365 days, 59 minutes, and 16 seconds. According to that one song, there are 525,600 minutes in a year, but really, there are 524,140. The difference between the two is 1,460 minutes, which is 24 hours and twenty minutes: the prodigal February 29th that comes about every four years. The leap year. The year with 366 days where that one extra day is only there so we don’t fuck up our time and the Earth’s place in orbit each year. That way the constellations appear at the same time we think it’s supposed to be. 

Seasonal constellations appear in the same spot around 9 pm at the same time of year. So, for example, Andromeda is a fall constellation and Orion is a winter constellation, even though they’re seen most of the year —albeit in different positions in the sky.


Time is fake and this is turning into an existential crisis, and it is too early for another one of those. 

Well, not literally anyways. Based on the sunlight slipping through the gap in my curtains, it’s bright out, meaning it’s well passed early. I pick up my phone from the nightstand, even though I just barely set it down, and check the time. 11 am. Still the A.M. Still socially acceptable to stay in bed. I roll onto my side so I can keep my phone plugged in, and open up TikTok. 

There’s nothing quite like a deep dive into this rabbit hole. 

Between videos of goofy animals and ridiculously complicated DIYs, I get a text. I’m tempted to ignore it, but when I see it’s my sister, I know better. 

It’s a screenshot of a website—the local animal shelter, to be exact. In it, there’s a picture of a black dog and a block of text that says he’s an 11-month, 40 lbs, labrador mix “in need of a loving home.”

I have a loving home
i would describe ur home as loving yes

Interesting opening line. Direct, just like Annie. She assumes I know what she means by that, and she’s lucky I do because otherwise, our conversations would be ridiculously long. And lucky for the both of us, Derrick, her fiancé, has learned how to understand her, too without having me translate. It took him a while, but he’s now fluent in Annie. 

I need him

Her bubble pops up as she types her next message. Three little dots wave up and down, trying to keep up with her surely racing fingers. Annie’s hands could never keep up with her fast brain, which is why her handwriting has always been atrocious. Mine too, but that’s just because I’m messy. 

He’ll be so happy with me
i dont doubt it
Be ready in an hour

A statement. A command of sorts, leaving no room for argument. Not that I’d dare argue with Annie. I reopen TikTok again, fully intending to scroll for a little while longer before getting ready, but another of her texts pops up.

I’ll be outside your place @ 12
12:05 I drag you out

A promise or a threat? Probably the latter. Either way, I text her a thumbs-up. I’m about to go back to the silly videos when she sends yet another text.

Get out of bed Nicholas

Goddamn it. It’s like she can see me. 

Heaving out a deep sigh, I push the sheets away and stretch. Contemplating whether or not I should shower, I check the time on my phone. 


No shower it is. 

When getting out of bed, I didn’t realize my feet were tangled in my sheets until I nearly fell flat on my face. That was close. I stretch my arms high above my head and walk toward the bathroom, yawning, still feeling tired from my sleepless night. However, that tiredness is spooked out of me when I trip on my sneakers, hidden under a pile of t-shits, barely reacting to brace my fall with my arms. 

“Oh, fuck.” I roll onto my side. Maybe I should just lay here, become another one of my dirty piles of clothes—or is this one clean? I don’t even know. It doesn’t sound too bad, but between that and having Annie burst in here and lecture me on my “lack of tidiness,” I’d rather get up. So, up from the ground I get.

In the bathroom, I splash some cold water on my face, washing away the pillow indents on my cheeks. I rinse my mouth with Listerine—I need to go get more toothpaste. Back in my room, I switch my sweats for my jeans from yesterday, and I sort through the piles looking for the least wrinkled shirt. I settle for a black Nirvana t-shirt that’s, hopefully, clean, and I pick up my hazardous sneakers. 

Next stop is the kitchen. I reach into one of the cupboards and pull out a box of Cheerios. I open the fridge and look between the empty shelves for the milk. I find the jug in the door, but when I pick it up, it’s way too light. Empty. Of course. Shaking my head, I toss it to the sink and look for something else to drink. There’s an expired bottle of soy sauce I keep forgetting to throw away, some sad-looking carrots, and an opened can of Pepsi. I reach for it and give it a shake. It’s got maybe an inch left of soda. It’ll do. 

I lean on the counter, eating Cheerios from the box and drinking flat soda until my phone vibrates with a text. It’s Annie.

Mariana Bastias

CU Boulder '25

Mariana is an aspiring novelist and poet studying English and Psychology, with a minor in Business. Her favorite book is "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and her favorite drink is an earl gray latte. When she isn't writing, she's baking or watching movies.