Sunlight bled through my sleep crusted eyelids. I burrowed under my blankets. After half a day in bed, my body ached. I hurled my pillow across the room and watched it land on a sneaker. Three days of dirty clothes littered the grey carpet: white ankle socks with brown, dusty soles, cotton grandma panties, and jogging suits never once used to break a sweat. I wanted to go back to sleep, to dream, but my bladder screamed and my right hip felt like it was being pried from my thigh bone with a sharp, pointed, bowie knife.
There’d be no more Technicolor, Surround Sound, virtual reality happening in my head until an acceptable bedtime rolled around later in the day. My dreams might be scary as hell, but that was so much better than what passed for my reality.
I should do some laundry. There were dishes in the sink to clean or popcorn pieces to vacuum. The excitement never ended. Since it was Saturday morning, at least, I didn’t have to drag myself to a boring job and sit in a boring cubicle surrounded by colorless people who wanted everyone to be as gray as they were.
My waking world was a gray photograph without highlights or contrasts. I didn’t even have the pleasure of a decent black and white image. Numb. I was numb. I couldn’t even feel my body. I had no idea where my flesh ended, and the air began. My physical world was as flat as bubbleless champagne. I wish I could drink like an alcoholic except I’d fall asleep, drool but not dream. No point in that.
I plopped myself down in the dusty, brown recliner facing my daytime companion. I turned on the TV; the only thing I managed to turn on these days. A few hours of mindless entertainment and I might find the energy to do something, anything. I glanced at my journal. Now, the guilt and castigations would start. Bargaining with my inner child lasted two hours. I still didn’t let her out to play.
Pausing the DVR so I wouldn’t miss a moment of scintillating entertainment, I moved for the first time in hours to get the icecream carton from the freezer and a soup spoon. When all else fails, eat and let the carbohydrates numb you up even more. Legal. Easy to get. Effective. The recriminations would come later.
The spoon fell out of my hand and landed on a fuzzball by my foot. I picked it up. I wiped it on my pant leg and took another scoop of chocolate peanut butter swirl. I watched as the spoon fell in slow motion, tumbling bowl over handle until it landed on the wood floor, splattering melted ice cream like a cheap crime scene knock off. I stared at it. It dawned on me that I had had enough ice cream for one day. A tear dropped from my cheek and mixed with the mess. I hadn’t even realized I was crying. The world was out to get me.
No. That wasn’t true. That would require an active participation on my part with the rest of the world. I never muster enough of anything to connect with the alternate reality outside my front door. I looked at that door. It was your standard wooden door, not even an inch thick in some places. It felt like a stone wall rising above my head, dwarfing me, growing larger, expanding to circle around me until I was encased in the oubliette.
My breathing ragged, it came in short, rapid gasps. I closed my mouth to cut off this childish ridiculousness, to prevent myself from hyperventilating. Instead, a lack of air caused my vision to blur and white pinpricks of light to pierce my eyeballs. I sucked in a lungful of oxygen. I flung my hands out to grasp the arms of my chair. My fingers struck my journal. It slammed onto the melted icecream with a loud, wet slop. I stared at it and knew how worthless I really was. Why did I bother?