things that find their way to the shore
when you let yourself feel devastated
and forgive yourself for it,
hope seeps in
— Heather Havrilesky
She sits on the sofa, covered loosely in a blanket, a cup of still-warm tea nestled in her hands, mind in so many places at once. Shivering a bit as the cool air drifts around her ankles, somehow masterfully slipping between the woolen socks and worn-out sweatpants that she has on today, causing goosebumps to explode on the skin like tiny fireworks, the hairs on her arms lifting instantly. The old windows, miserably failing to stop the cold from coming in on a frigid day like this. The heaters, not making that much better job at keeping her warm. Unless she would consider clinging to them directly from floor level and with high levels of affection. Well, something to think about. Shrinking a bit, she wraps the thick rust-colored blanket tighter around her, making a face as the over-sugared liquid slips down her throat. Then she sighs, staring numbly at the darkening room. Feeling too tired to even get up and turn the lights on.
Yesterday proved to be a very long day, not just for her but also for Charlie. Funny enough, her collapsing in public and then later exposing herself emotionally on the roof didn't even prove to be the hardest or the strangest part of the day. She looks down at her hands, the fingers still wrapped around the chipped, red ceramic cup, wondering how much crazier her life could still possibly be. There really was no answer to that. All she could do was square her shoulders and soldier through whatever the world had in store for her.
Slowly, her mind returns to the cafeteria and the plastic chair that got more and more uncomfortable the longer she sat there alone, waiting for him. Arms crossed, and her back shoved into the seat as if she wanted to sink into it and blend with its structure until she would disappear altogether. Time, the surroundings, and the people around slowly blurring away, fading into oblivion as everything inside her became loud. So loud while lost in the soundless world that held her in a tight, nearly suffocating embrace. Destructive tenderness, and cold fingers against the skin, that were calling her home. A home that nobody wanted. A home that scorched and burned until there was nothing left.
Lost in your thoughts, stranger?
She remembers flinching and then looking up a bit dazed until her stare had gained some focus, eyes meeting his as her muscles lost some of their tension.
Concentrating, she slowly makes the rest of the scene come back to life, playing out as if she was there again. The past and present blending together as she holds the cup tighter in her hands. Her mind, settling all too easily in the conversation they had. Breathing and inhaling each word as if it was all happening now. His question, still vibrating in her ears.
You could say that. All gloom and flawless skin in one. Always some upsides to every situation.
She had tried to add a smile to her words, but it came out crooked and mangled somehow. Not that she was surprised much. One could only pretend so long before everything started to fall apart.
Yes, there are always some.
He said slowly and then tilted his head, his hand resting questioningly on the chair opposite to her.
Can I join, with the threat of my head being chopped off by any uneasy topics?
She stared at him for a moment, getting herself together, and then outstretched a hand with ease as if she wasn't really strained or bothered by the whole situation. As if there weren't any chunks of ice swimming in her veins, making her body become unnaturally still. She wanted to act naturally in front of him, yet each physical action felt like moving through rust. Just rust and countless wholes.
Go right ahead. I won't stop you.
He nodded and then sat down slowly, the chair's metal legs making a screeching sound that made them both flinch painfully.
Sorry about that.
No worries, it's my daily soundtrack in here.
She tapped a finger at the side of her forehead, trying to bring some comic relief, but it only made him frown more.
I wish you wouldn't have to go through all of this.
His voice had been soft and gentle and made her even more uneasy than before. Receiving comfort and affection was still a rather alien concept for her. Before Charlie came along, she had many dark months to go through, her soul or whatever was left of it at its lowest. And now, all those weeks later, she was still baffled that all that warmth was meant for her. Still looking at him almost suspiciously whenever he spontaneously did something nice for her, feeling like a wild animal that was brought into the house. Or a beaten-up dog that was doing its best to figure out all the new surroundings. Not knowing how to react to all the good that was coming its way. Rolling into a tight ball somewhere in the corner and only very gradually getting used to the kindness that was being given away so effortlessly, it seemed.
I think I lost you again.
His voice made her snap back into reality again.
Just for a moment, but I will always come back to you. Promise.
His voice became gentle, and she inhaled deeper, watching him tap against the table a few times before looking up at her again.
I'm not any better at picking at an awkward conversation than you are, trust me.
Her forehead creased automatically at the words.
Oh, I could argue with that.
I am aware, after all, arguing is your favorite activity at the gambling table.
Slowly, her eyebrows lifted then, the corners of the mouth shifting into a faint shadow of a smile.
You're not entirely wrong there.
She smirked a bit. And this time, the smile felt less broken.
Well, I will take that answer as a win. Hopefully, not my last.
She inhaled quickly and spoke before her old patterns caused her to stretch out the conversation, only sliding past the surface and not cutting anywhere deeper. Not touching the layers that were covered in cement and rubble of her previous life.
I had someone very close to me, someone I loved so much that it brought me pain. The good kind, the kind that has no explanation that could ever be put into silly, meaningless words.
She said with surprising calm, things that stirred in her mixing with the ones that felt relieved that she could finally let go of some of her burdens. Observing as his vibrant blue eyes became slightly bigger. But beyond that small change, he remained calm as well, not even moving or trying to speak. She nodded, mostly to herself. A sort of reassurance to continue.
It wasn't an easy kind of love to live with. It was chaotic, unpredictable, and not possible to put, in any kind of frame. It brought the worst and the best in me at the same time. It made me stronger, but it also made me more vulnerable, weaker to what could come. Because when you love like that, there aren't that many places that you can hide to avoid the grief and pain that would come when it's taken away from you.
She had taken a slow, steady breath and marveled at how strangely easy those words flowed out of her. Words she thought that she had thrown away on her darkest day just to remain breathing, but now realizing that they had never left her. They clung to the skin and wrapped themselves under the muscles, mixing with the oxygen that colored her lungs so well. It was at that moment when something in her shifted and bend unpleasantly. Her chin raising, and the jaw clenching, knowing what had to be said next.
But unfortunately, that day came sooner than I feared it would, the empty prayers that I whispered every day proving to be just that. Just empty things.
She swallowed as a sad smile appeared on her lips, and he outstretched a hand automatically to soothe her pain. But she just shook her head and quickly moved the fingers away, crossing her arms tightly over the chest.
I loved him, Charlie. More than anything in this world, it seems at times, but that wasn't enough to keep him alive... with me. Because one day someone decided that his life was no longer worth the while.
She looked to the side and stared out the window at the thick clouds coloring the sky with deep greys and shades of purple that brought some unexplainable beauty to the picture. Yet, her brain decided to ignore any form of such comfort, her fists clenching until the knuckles became white. Not that she cared much. The only thing that mattered to her at that moment was to let it go. To shed some of the layers that no longer served a purpose. Almost like a snake trying to wriggle itself out of its old, dead skin. Even though the process proved to be rather brutal.
Like at that moment, inside the cafeteria. On those two plastic chairs and the big table between them. The silence, separating them physically, with all the words that still had to be said, making them even further away. And she didn't want that gap to grow. No, that was something that she could no longer allow. Sometimes you just have to forgive yourself, or it will drag you down under all the dirt you were already under, but this time there would be no air left to breathe in between.
The softest of inhales. Say it. She urged herself in that second that somehow seemed like the most fragile second in the world.
Dan. That was his name.
She whispered and heard his chair scrape a bit against the linoleum floor. After a few seconds, she glanced back at him, fingers unclenching slowly.
You see, Charlie, Dan tended to have a talent for making bad decisions. Repeatedly, somehow never learning from his mistakes. And I was there to see him through all the storms and fires he recklessly jumped into without a second thought. At most times, he was lucky. Dangerously lucky.
Her eyes searched his for a moment, and then she pointed a finger at him, almost accusingly.
But you know how it is with luck, don't you?
He nodded slowly, cautiously, apparently sensing a shift, and her smile grew heavy and dark. Thick and black, like tar that drips down your fingers. Deadly, slow calmness.
Yes, exactly. Luck runs out, even for the dark horses of the race.
Silence swelled in around them as the people in the cafeteria kept on talking. Plates and cups, shifting, hushed conversations filling the vast space. So many worries in one room, it caused her a headache. Unfiltered sadness, and anger sipping into the brain, pulsating accusations and dread she could not block, throbbing whispers tightening around her. Just another day in hell, nothing else. She exhaled and put her hands on her lap, rubbing them slowly against the knees in thought. Memories flooding her slowly but with power as she put the physical pain away, separating from it for now. Only one destruction at once, God. Something in her smiled in a bitter way. She wasn't even sure if she believed in any higher power, and yet she begged for its mercy at times like these. She tilted her head slightly and let out a breath, eyes gliding numbly over his worried face.
So, one day he didn't come back. I wasn't really surprised that much as he had episodes like those before, drifting away from me for a day or two. Sometimes even three. Once again handling, another new lucrative business that "this time will work for sure".
For a second, she heard Dan's voice as if he was right there with her. This time it will work, baby. This plan is bulletproof, I just feel it. She breathed out and tried not to taste the bitterness on her tongue and instead just continued, her voice becoming dull and empty.
But it never really did. And on that day, instead of seeing his tired, mangled face, which somehow always had a smile reserved for me. Just for me...
She inhaled through her teeth sharply, and without warning, the wounds opened up again, catching the light and gushing blood all over the table. The motion nearly too painful for her to swallow, her throat tightening. But she fought it and clenched her fists again. It's just pain, it's nothing you haven't felt before. Get a grip on yourself. Finish something for once. She told herself with sternness, trying to replace the ache with anger. Grabbing her side as if wanting to stop the invisible bleeding and barely stopping herself from growling as the pain became too physical, too real.
But I didn't get to see it. Instead, seeing a different face and different eyes. Those eyes were serious and respectful. The officer that I had opened the door to; surprisingly gentle as he explained to me that the person most important to me, someone I could not imagine breathing without - not fully, anyway - was gone. No longer... here.
She stumbled on the last word like there were pieces of shredded glass in her mouth. Feeling the ice in her veins, stirring and covering the spaces between the ribs as her chin lifted slightly, back straightening in the plastic chair. The urge to disappear in it was gone. All she felt was her muscles thickening and beginning to settle like concrete. Matching the texture of her bones as the next words felt out of her mouth like tiny sharp pebbles, covering the floor with dust and rubble.
Murdered coldly in some dark, disgusting... sickening alley.
She looked up at the ceiling, letting the light from the lamps blind her a bit as her shoulders rolled slowly. As if she was trying to make her body move. As if she was trying to remember how it was to be human again.
The officer said a fight must have had broken off between him and the attacker. And the other person had no trouble taking one step too far. These things happen more often than one thinks, apparently.
She said in an empty voice, sarcasm coloring her words and seeming to be the only audible shade of life left in her on that day.
Hey, but what to expect when drugs and gambling issues are involved, right? Some people are just problems from the beginning. And society doesn't like that, Charlie.
For some reason, her voice managed to turn sweet as her tongue ran slowly against her teeth, threateningly sweet. As if she had been hanging on the last thread that kept her from tasting insanity fully. Tasting it and enjoying it.
Did you know they found cocaine on him? I mean, beyond finding a wide, gushing gap in his chest? Mmm, not the prettiest sight, in my opinion.
She hadn't looked his way as she asked the question. Lost somewhere between the past and what was actually going on around her. She felt disconnected from everything and didn't have any will to resurface.
He lost so much blood.
She murmured it very low, making it sound more like rusting leaves than actual words.
Whispering them almost to herself as if she was the only one in the room.
But there was nothing they could do when he was found. Nothing to be saved. It didn't matter though, as he was left there to rot there the entire night. They found him early in the morning. On November 12th. The policeman knocked at my door a few hours later. It was 9:32 a.m.
She faintly heard the voices return, creeping into her head and bringing tension under her forehead. She couldn't care less.
9:32 a.m. It's funny how a human brain can recall such small details. Don't you think?
Her voice trailed off, and she shivered after a moment, somehow smelling the snow in the air. Even if she was inside, sitting in warmth. Maybe it was because of how frozen her body felt against her numb thoughts. Or perhaps she remembered how the air smelled when she had to go in and identify the body. And feel the cold skin of his cheek as she stroked it for the last time, in that soulless room with fluorescent lights and metal, shiny surfaces everywhere. Standing there, feeling like being inside a freezer. But then again, since that day, everything felt cold to her.
Suddenly, she felt gentle fingers wrapping around hers as he pulled a chair next to her and sat down, not saying anything. Just being there and coating her with a soft warmth that she needed so desperately.
It's okay. I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere.
She stared at her hand in his, not looking at him until he reached out with his other hand and lifted her chin lightly. A kind smile that brought some light to her state and gradually melted the ice covering her skin. Just like the winter sun as it allows the Spring to shyly creep onto the stage. Slowly for now, but enough to let some hope to seep in. A trace of waking up life.
Is that where you were last week, Nora? Honoring his memory? Dealing with the date?
He asked after a few seconds, but to be honest, it might as long have been hours or days, for all she knew. Time felt like a very surreal thing to inhale and breathe with on that day.
You don't have to answer now. I'm sorry, that was probably a bit insensitive.
She shook her head slowly as his hold was still on her. Smiling a bit at him, his fingers on her chin seemed to burn right through the flash. It was a good burn.
No, it's okay. And yes. I went to visit him at the cemetery.
It must have been a rough time for you.
You have no idea.
He nodded and let go of her chin, letting her lean in and rest her head on his shoulder, as his arm wrapped around her body, his other hand still squeezing hers reassuringly.
I can only guess all the things you have been through in the last couple of years. But I"m here for you, whenever you need me. I mean it.
I know... I know.
It was then when he rested his chin against her head, and her body nestled itself into him. As always, somehow so naturally as if she had known him for years and not just a couple of months. But she didn't fight it as much as in the beginning. No, at that moment, she just let herself sink into him and forget that anything existed, apart from here and then.
_ _ _ _ _
She shakes her head and comes back to reality unwillingly, as the cold of her flat and the empty couch without another warm body against hers hits her harshly. Less than 20 hours, and she already missed him and his presence. And there was less and less in her to fight that feeling. She wraps herself tighter in the rusty color blanket, and sinks deeper into the pillows, letting her body fall and roll into a ball, the street lamps coloring everything in shades of orange and gold.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
https://theprose.com/post/230936/with-all-my-senses ( the beginning )
Previous chapters :
on the flutters of triggered wings . and soul tremors hidden within a breath
don't judge the way I breath in my . l o u d
you have no idea
how it is to have
exploding inside your head,
set into life by the smallest tremors of the heart,
I am an earthquake in a grain of sand
feeling all on one
f r a c t i o n . of a second,
and _ n o t h i n g _ on the ones
speaking only of hollow thoughts
and empty spaces between the ribs,
you must know
that the wind blows harder
on those with bruised structures
how beautiful the sun _ s h i n e s _ through those cracks,
be mindful, caring
( tender )
when touching wings that still struggle
with the concept of flying,
there is a whole map painted on my spine
colored with scars,
the scars that I teach myself to . s o o t h e
and not _ j u s t _ hide
she’s got that Christmas *feeling* about her
you smell like honey, gingerbread
and the promise of snow,
my winter sun,
dripping slowly from a jar
sticky fingertips and a trace of nutmeg,
tangerine zest, your love
and all those trickling stars,
lost in the beating
of a pulse,
almost as if powder sugar
our raspberry hearts
within a light that warms your bones
all of our lives together
or just 5 minutes
doesn't matter really,
as long as I get to spend that time with you
of one body and the uncounted galaxies within
she’s made of binary stars,
little flicklers of light and dark
all painted in multicolored space dust
they are made of all,
and all in between
color-coded between the ribs
meet me on the equinox
somewhere between then and now,
where your whispers taste like powder sand
and liquid stars.
slipping my fingers into the marron
and cobalt streaked skies
slowly dipping my toes in your love
ever so gently, but with a blazing soul.
footprints on the moon,
imprinted over the kaleidoscope of your heart
my ever raging, peaceful midnight sun
on the expansion of light and soul
and there I was, barefoot on the melting snow
humming softly to myself,
and embracing the
sound of an exhaling soul.
you were the first warm day
after a long cold winter
- A. R.
eventually, everything resurfaces
I am interested in longing,
in longing so deep it threatens to splinter a person apart
— Rachel Yoder
A few hours later.
It takes some time to convince him that I was more or less stable now and would not collapse before anyone else's welcoming feet again. Or any kind of motor engine, for that matter, If I ever decided to head outside for a whiff of some rather questionable fresh air. Safe to say, it takes me at least an hour and a lot of heavy, pressuring stares before he lets me out of his sight. Not that I could blame him. Even though that kind of hovering attitude; irritated me worse than a nasty, itchy rash. Heating my skin more than a steamy and passionate rendezvous session with a poison ivy bush would.
But still, I get it.
For some reason, he cared, and I was grateful for it. Even if I sucked at showing it. There were times when I thought of myself as an Italian matron, expressing my care and concern by bringing food. It was the best way I knew how - a small smile creeps to my lips but is quickly replaced by a deep, ulgly scowl. At that simple task of showing affection, I was more or less decent. But as the mental state goes, and communication skills when it comes to any type of feelings... Well, let's face it. In that area, I was a shipwreck. Though even I had my moments sometimes.
I think quietly, shifting between people, corridors, and eventually, the seemingly endless flights of stairs. I head to the roof, sneaking outside before anyone could notice or protest against it. Blocking the heavy door with a piece of a cardboard box, so I would not get shut out, leaving my sorry ass to potential hyperthermia and a not-so-pleasant ice statue effect. With some hesitation, I inhale deeper and then exhale very slowly. Releasing the tension in my chest a bit, letting the lungs take in as much oxygen as they wanted. Mmm, even though the air was freezing, it felt good as it expanded under the ribs, scratching almost painfully from the inside but making me feel just a little bit more human.
I close my eyes and hold back on any unwanted thoughts and feelings that could slip into the cracks, rocking the already unsteady foundation. The only thing that I do, let in, are my senses as I concentrate on all the seemingly insignificant things in between. On how the wind moves against my skin and fingers, as my hands open wide, my head lifted back, eyes closed. Or on how each sound vibrates in my eardrums and under the muscles. The street traffic blending into an unknown melody that somehow soothes my mind. With time I relax slightly, allowing myself to be in the here and now, but eventually, some time later, he finds me.
I'm not even that surprised. Somehow, he always found me, sensing when my mood would drop or when my thoughts were further away from him, from everything. Maybe he felt the notions that I had been ignoring so well. Never truly realizing how the things inside of me changed after taking out that ring a few weeks ago, that still meant so much to me. The simple silver one, forever painted in daisies and bruised time. Blurring out the longing for someone that once felt like home against the rubble and dust of the world that left her colder, quieter, somewhat defeated.
With growing tissue around the parts that she managed to stitch the best way, she knew how. Healing slowly, but with visible nylon, threads sticking out of her, reminding her how rushed she acted. Not caring about much more than to stop the open wounds from gushing deep crimson. Not taking all the time that she should have to peace herself back in the right way. Her tapestry, consisting of glue, cotton patches, and torn pieces of grey scotch tape.
Temporary solutions for the wounded ones.
Struggling, I move away slightly from the past and slowly retreat to reality, suddenly feeling very tired. I have been very moody because that little thing pressed deep into one of my drawers, hidden under the layers of the surface life. The returning memories, hitting at me, taunting my mind. And what happened today did not help my case either. Too many waves, pulling me down at once. At times I could resist my past, but my past could not do the same. And the only reason why I haven't noticed it until now was because there were so many things to handle first, ripping me constantly in all directions. And above all, ladies and gentlemen, I was a good runner, fleeing away from my problems smoothly, on instinct, not letting any more pain in.
But somehow, it regularly found its way back to me, just like he did.
I look down at the contents lightly nestled into my hand as he asks, surprised. Staring at me as if holding a pack of cigarettes was worse than what I did before. Like I should be feeling more sinful from this than actually from killing someone. From taking a life that was not mine. Yes, as if nicotine and yellow-stained fingers were my biggest problem now. Oh, how silly seemed the sins in his mind in comparison with mine. I think but then shake my head. But how could he know or even suspect my real atrocities? The filth that lingered under my fingernails, forever stained in gone powder. It wasn't his fault that I did not have enough of a backbone to let him in completely and tell him all that sit rotting inside of my darker, infected parts. I stare back and shrug my shoulders, feeling the crisp air slip past my wrists and under the sleeves of the leather jacket. It takes a lot of energy not to shrink from the chill, staying calm and poised. Yet despite it, my body remains motionless.
I watch his eyebrows furrow slowly.
Then why are you...
Holding it helps me calm down.
I don't think I follow.
You could say it's a souvenir.
Alright, you have to give me more than that.
I gaze at him for a moment, and then the words just flow out, spilling smoothly as if water over pebbles in a rushing stream.
It was my fiance's. He died, nothing more to say.
He's taken aback by my answer, his eyes growing wider as he takes an unconscious step back, probably not even realizing it. I inhale the cold air and then slowly let it out again. Letting another sharp, heavy stone fall out of my lungs. I almost hear it hitting the pavement beneath my feet with a low sound, and then I straighten my back, something both loosening and deflating in my core. Well, eventually, he would have found out anyway. So why prolong it? I gaze up at him, parts of me quietly surrendering. I was just too tired to keep up with all the secrets. I had too many of them as it was.
The way he says my name sounds more like a question than anything else. It makes me uneasy. I never liked any form of pity, and the worst kind of pity was hearing the sharpest words in the world covered in silk. I'm sorry for your loss. The only time I would let people do that to me was on the day of the funeral. And only then. And today was definitely not such a day. I cut him off abruptly before he can say anything else.
No, stop. It doesn't matter anymore. I moved on. So let's just drop it, alright? No need to dig into the past. Nothing good ever comes from it.
I step further away from him and go to the edge of the roof, knowing how bitter my voice sounded but not really caring. I look inside the paper box and stare at the three lonely cigarettes and a simple red plastic lighter. I pull it out and play with it for a moment, then sigh and hide it, putting the packet back inside my jacket. I cross my arms and lean against a low brick wall, separating me from the empty space in front of me and the twenty floors below my feet. The wind, blowing the hair around my face as I watch the stars gradually set into the deep blue ink, pink and maroon-colored sky. Wondering how much longer I would have to go through this mess. Was there even any way out? Or was it just a case of waiting for the grave end?
After a while, I turn around and see that he must have left some time ago, letting me with this moment and the memories. He left me in peace when I needed it the most. It was one of the things about him that I could easily fall in love with if there was anything in my to still love. I had doubts about that because all there seemed to be left was just a block of ice that grew bigger with every day. Thick, almost unbreakable, and wrapped around in silence. Coated over a heart that had been bruised one too many times and lost a will to feel certain empty notions. It was beating, of course, feeling, existing. Caring. Caring so much. But was that enough to feel, everything?
I walk down the staircase on stiff legs, feeling a chill in the bones. The cold banister only intensifying the sensation, causing my teeth to ring loudly against each other, the late-night and the lack of sleep taking a haul on me. Though what I was about to just do, made me feel even colder. But it was needed. I open the inside door and walk into the hallway of the building. I know Charlie's shift isn’t over yet, so I look for him without rush, eyes scanning the place, face crinkled from too many thoughts. I can feel stress and exhaustion tugging at me, the world around gently buzzing, lights a bit too bright, and noises unpleasantly heightened, my head starting to pound mercilessly. But it was nothing, just a sad, depressing part of my life now. Humans are a specific kind of creatures; they adept even to the worst things. Even though it made my skin crawl to think that I was now used to the pain. To this form of insanity. An overstretched material no longer serving its purpose.
I finally find him at the main desk, filling some patient's paperwork and setting the medication dosages. A faint smile stretches my lips; I guess I learned a stuff or two while coexisting in his complicated, medical world. And if I ever went back to stealing morphine, I would be much better at it than just a month ago. He looks up at me, distracted, and sees the barely visible smile on my face, but he’s not fooled by it.
Nora, what’s wrong?
He notices me shiver.
God, have you been up there all that time? I thought you would go to the library or to some argument session with Morgan. Not that you would actually stay on the roof. Are you insane?
Yes, in all ways. I feel like answering but then shrug, not being able to focus entirely on his words.
I need to talk to you.
Of course, yes. But only if you go to the cafeteria and get yourself something hot to drink and eat. I will meet you there, but I have some things still that need to be done.
My arms cross, and I take a demonstrative walk to the wending machine, pull out a few coins from my back pocket so he can see, and get a paper cup of tea, steam rising from it as I sit on a chair nearby.
I’m good. And can wait here for you.
Was the show necessary, Eleonore?
If it made you say my full name twice in one day, then yes.
I take small sips of the hot over-sugared liquid, never taking my stare off him. He looks like he has to deal with a spoiled five-year-old, and he’s not that far off, to be honest. But he doesn’t understand what’s going on with me and how fragile I have become. I don’t want to be far away from him, in case I might break again. I have been feeling weaker since we met. Better, more peaceful, energized at first but now more like on pain killers that worked too well. Addicting, blurring my senses, and with a hard crash, if I didn’t take the right dosage on time. Just like when I was taking drugs, better for a while, and then even worse than before. Constantly craving more. Just to stop the pain, the thoughts, the voices.
He made my life bearable, with an illusion of normality, but there was an enormous price that came with it. A falling apart car could only run so long, no matter what kind of miracles the mechanic could perform.
Don’t make me sit there alone, Charlie. Please? I would rather be here to know when you’re done.
He stares at me for a while, his expression slowly changing. It’s worried again. I tense, trying to swallow the big lump in my throat, tears starting to form unexpectedly. I take a bigger sip of tea and gaze at the cup with an empty stare, not wanting to feel anymore. He walks over until he reaches me and then crouches beside me, touching the wrists gently, the warmth filling my skin, circling in the veins, and reaching my tired mind. My eyes start to sting again, but I compose myself at the last moment.
What’s going on, Nora?
His sigh is heavy and tickles my skin.
Is it because of that seizure you had in front of doctor Sorentine?
No. Well, in a way.
He nods a few times.
I'm getting closer then. And is it also about what you told me on the roof? And the lighter that you hold on to so tightly?
Finally, I make myself look up at him and then nod, almost unnoticeably; not sure what would happen to my emotions if I tried to speak right now.
Alright. As soon as I finish up with my things, we will go to the cafeteria together and talk
about whatever you want to, deal?
I feel like a little kid again and groan, waving my hands dismissively in the air.
Yes. Now get up from your feet. You’re making a spectacle of yourself.
I watch as his face loosens the deep frown and spreads into an almost normal smile.
Why? Are you feeling embarrassed by it?
No, I wouldn’t want any of the nurses here to think you are proposing to me and then beat me up in some dark alley behind the dumpster. I hear such acts of violence are common in hospitals. Especially with attractive male nurses inhabiting the area.
He laughs out, shaking his head, and then with a bit lighter step, he heads back to his responsibilities. I watch as he disappears and then walk up to the reception, tapping on the counter until I get some proper attention. A middle-aged woman with glasses and a strong presence about her looks up and gives me an all-knowing look.
I need a cigarette, really bad.
You don't smoke.
She states with authority.
No, but you do, and I am more than aware of that secret stash that you keep away from your husband. Twenty cigarettes a week, like clockwork.
You’re too observant for someone that always looks out of place, my dear.
It helps me get by and stops the wolves from eating me alive. Come on, I know you have a coffee break soon, and I'm really desperate for some nicotine.
I send her a long look, grabbing her stare, knowing that she will understand.
I need to prepare for a battle.
She sizes me up for a moment and taps against a plastic pad three times.
Fine, but next time don’t be blabbering on, letting other people know about my place behind the dumpster. Especially, mister sweeter than sugar and more bothersome than all saints behind the holy gate discussing bloody politics.
I chuckle loudly, and it makes my insides unwind until the weight on my chest gets smaller. I truly loved that woman; she could always pick me up from the gutter of my existence. And that spoke volumes.
That’s a promise.
https://theprose.com/post/230936/with-all-my-senses ( the beginning )
Previous chapters :