Chapter 18

(March 24, 2005; a draft that needs rewriting because the point is way too unclear)

The quiet dream of swimming faded, blues and greens burning away in the red-black of afternoon light beyond her eyelids. Fen opened her eyes and stared blankly at the gentle curves of the water-damaged ceiling, trying to blink her way back to comprehension. Her limbs were bent numbly around each other, and the back of her head ached where it pressed against the parquet floor, but both sensations were an arm's length away, barely more than memories. She lifted her upper body slowly, shaking the pins and needles out of her skin as she braced herself against her elbows and surveyed the room. It was as she'd left it, the only real difference being the few inches of daylight flowing in around the lowered blinds, but it looked subtly changed.

It wasn't necessarily a good morning, but it was a morning, and that was interesting enough.

Fen tried not to judge her sensations too harshly. Her body felt heavy and moderately inappropriate, like a tool that had been used for a purpose other than the one for which it was forged, but there was a certain awe to be found in the way her veins pulsed visibly beneath her skin. She let her head roll back and stared at the underside of the chair a couple of feet away, analyzing the network of metal fixtures and plastic connections without giving the matter any conscious consideration. Breathing was challenging, and this angle didn't help; a buzzing sound rose between her ears, low and insistent. She wasn't sure, but she thought it might be coming from the stereo. The sound was too quiet to be heard, but she could almost feel the words.

simple words that simply disappear/ while silence has replaced the sound of laughter
and in the twilight memories shimmer in a/ breath of hesitation...

Her hair brushed against the back of her neck as she sat up, damp and heavy from her sweat. She twisted to the left and right, both to crack her back and to drink in the sense of motion; it was a relief, and an impetus to waken the rest of her muscles. With a sudden sense of immediecy, she lunged forward, rolling her hips and reaching for the scraps of sun, and landed palms-first beneath the window. Her legs connected with the wood an instant later and the pain was unexpectedly welcome, overshadowed as it was by the warmth of the light falling in long bands across her wrists and fingertips. She grabbed the bottom of the blind and dragged it down, then let go. The sudden rush of light hurt, but she only winced a little.

she said Go, I don't need you anymore/ she said Go, I don't need you now, my dearest
she said Go, I don't love you anymore/ she said Go, but I don't believe her...

Fen gathered herself and, reaching for the windowsill, pulled herself shakily to her feet. With a toddler's steps she crossed the room to the phone. She wondered if she should call her father, her sister, her best friend... then realized it didn't matter, so long as she called someone. As the phone on the other end of the line rang, she leaned over, picked up the empty bottle half-hidden under the desk, and began tracing the letters on the label with her thumb. She'd covered the first half of the first word - generic, but so familiar - when someone answered.

"Listen, hi, it's me. I want to tell you about this terrible dream I just had."
"Don't be afraid, love; you're awake now."
"I hope so."