Always an earthquake before the tsunami, isn’t there? Looking back you think there musta been a sign, musta been a warning that change was coming. And maybe there was, too subtle to see. If I could go back and stay asleep that day, would things have been different? ‘Cause the moment I woke, the world became darker.
Nestled in the soft silence of morning, nothing felt right. Outside, the world sprang alive with daffodils, whispering oaks, birds lost in song. Inside, a long winter was blowing in.
The soft down of the comforter, a wicked tease beneath the chin. Almost fooled me into thinking this day was like all others. Dog barks in the distance, green buds on the trees. Awake now/emerging/from the last peaceful slumber/a girl knows. Shake off the sleep/dead weights on the eyes/confused as to why/they won’t open.
Out in the hall, Hans is leaving for work. There’s the key fidgeting in the lock, his footsteps upon the stairs. I can picture the khakis on his stocky legs. The paisley button-down too tight around his heaving chest, like the shirt will rip right open. Hans makes a show of wearing a kilt every day then what does he do? Goes off to work in khakis. Fuck him. The cat’s there, mewing behind the door. There’s the smell of coffee, the whoosh of a car. It’s a normal day. For everyone else.
I’m lying in a state of calm confusion, feeling dead and excruciatingly alive. Stillness blasts through the bedroom, growing louder the longer I’m there. Much like the angst clamoring inside. Eyelids, lips, limbs so slack, so heavy. There’s a leaden quality to them that makes it difficult to move. So I raise the eyelids with my fingertips and wonder why I have to. The room looks the same. I am not the same.
A simmering caldron engulfs the pores, hot tingling blazing through the cheeks faster than I can throw off the covers. A dragon breathing fire, rubbing alcohol on an open wound. It all feels so toxic. Parted lips give way to a writhing tongue, and I’m dashing for the mirror.
Racing from bedroom to bathroom, the final seconds of stillness tick away in a flash of bare feet and creaking hardwood. In an instant, the hallway becomes the gateway where woman turns crusader. By the time I reach the mirror, a new chapter has begun — the one where I’ll rail (and rail and rail) against complacency.