Have I gone blind?
I cannot see a thing.
The tides are pushing me further from the shore and I cannot find any strength in my feeble arms to fight. I only move along. I am drowning, only this is no sea. I am drowning in the darkness.
A swirl of voices is surrounding me but I can make no sense out of them. A voice shouts in my ears “Keep Breathing.” Breathe? How? I want to ask but I can’t find my own voice. Over my chest there were heavy loads, mountains, am I supposed to break them to pieces? What if I couldn’t?
The voices are growing fainter and fainter till I can hear nothing at all. This is the end then? I’m so lonely….
I woke up gasping for air. My hands moved swiftly across my face making sure it was still me. While leaning back, suddenly, the blackness became white. I flinched and covered my eyes; they could not adjust well. Slowly, I moved my hand away and opened my eyes to look around. For a second I saw nothing but white. That alarmed me but soon enough shapes started forming around: a bed, a mirror and a cupboard. My room. I was still alive.
Everything started to make sense abruptly. I was having that nightmare again. It was like watching the same horror movie over and over again yet never succeed in making it to the end without screaming. What made it more horrific was the fact of it being strongly based on a waking-life experience. I turned off the light, I felt more comfortable with blindness.
It was not until I touched my face again that I’d noticed the hot liquid streaming down it coming out of my eyes. Tears. I was crying and of that, I could make no sense at all. It was not the first time. Though I had reason enough to not top crying in my every living moment, I didn’t. When the tears started welling up in my eyes, I took a deep breath and held them back. Nobody must ever see through my weakness. But that was the case with tears, you freeze them in your heart in the day and they melt down your cheeks in the night.
The tears turned in to sobs and I couldn’t stop them, I didn’t want to stop them. Slowly, I buried myself deep under the quilt till I was completely covered from head to toe. My arms were locked around my chest and I had to move them away so that the tears would melt from my heart easier. I ran out of tears. I could not cry anymore.
I shoved the liquid from my now-hot-as-coal cheeks, when it occurred me to turn on the light and head for the mirror to see how I looked like.
I flinched again but this time from the reflection. My eyes muddy-green color was now combining with a strange red. In fact, my whole face turned to different shades of red; my cheeks were dark pink and my lips were scarlet. Not wanting to see anymore, my hands reached for the switch to turn off the light and surrender to my blissful blindness. But I didn’t want this image of me to stay in my memory torturing me in the next hours. I wanted to shove it out of my head, or to at least adjust it. With slow, heavy steps, I walked to the door; I was going to wash my face.
Without having any control over myself, the moment I realized that I was not going to cry any more, that to get out of this door I had to have a tight grip over my emotions, I started weeping again. My lips pursed in to a thin line as I tried to even my breath and stop this stream and though it was very hard, I succeeded. Finally, I reached the door. A voice of another door opening broke the long silence of the night and abruptly, my hands froze on the doorknob. My heart skipped a beat at the irritating sound that both frightened and surprised me. I had no watch with me yet I knew it must have been a very late hour for anyone to be awake. But I was. Maybe I was not alone after all. I calmed down a little bit when the possibility of someone waking up to drink from the refrigerator flashed up upon my mind.
I didn’t know how long I’d spent there with my ears glued to the door trying to hear the sound of the other door closing back again, but it seemed like a long time to me. Or maybe I was just bored. Either way, I wanted to relax from my tense position. I tiptoed to my bed holding my breath.
Lying on the bed was not comfortable either as I was not going to sleep, merely waiting. I wanted to do something. With the same soundless motion, I opened the window in my room and watched the night sky.
No clouds. Too bad. Without them the sky was so dull, like a plain paper that had not a single drop of ink on it. I didn’t settle for that, my eyes scanned the sky searching for stars and my disappointment doubled when I saw not a single one. I sighed and focused my eyes on a certain spot. I imagined that the spot was my head, blank, empty. But that couldn’t be and I envied it. Who I was fooling? I could never escape misery, not for the tiniest second, not at all. It was like shouting at your echo to stop calling back at you, or pushing your legs so fast to run from your shadow. Misery was my echo and my shadow, as long as I existed, it did too. And that was why sleeping had been my favorite activity. It disconnected me from everything. But even that was not peaceful now, when the nightmare always interrupted it.
When I’d noticed the deep blue sky turning to lighter shades of the same color, I decided I waited long enough. Nobody was going to be awake now.
With one hand I pushed the door forward while I opened it with the other as to mute the sound of the door opening. I was not positive about my theory, precautions were a must. I was almost certain that the traces of tears had disappeared but the heat was still there burning my cheeks. Cold water would be great. With every step I took forward, I felt my heart hammering loudly against my chest. I was not doing anything wrong to be afraid, but I was sure that my features would give away what I had been doing for the last couple of hours and I was in no mood for faking smiles. Appearing strong and coherent was a strict rule I made for myself with no exception, not even my family.
Half way through, I heard a voice and froze as reflex reaction. I considered getting back again to my room but it was too late. I didn’t know whose voice it was and I didn’t know what it was saying. It seemed like another language, no, it seemed like there was no language at all, just strange sound that were loud enough for me to hear. My curiosity got the best of me and I went on pushing my luck praying that no one would notice me. I followed the voice.
It always amazed me how when the great mountains fell, it was so easy for the stones to shatter. Now I could understand. I stood upright no longer caring for my rule, no longer caring for anything in the world as my eyes absorbed the scene. Mum was crying.
I hurried to where she sat on the kitchen table and dragged a chair to be setting right beside her. My hand found hers and strongly held it. Endless moments of silence dragged on with me seeming to have lost the ability to form word. It was not the first time for me to see mum crying but it never failed to shake my very depth, to make me want to give up anything to stop the tears. In moments like that, I usually hid in my room escaping the painful scene, but right now I could not, not when I knew that she needed me.
In the coldest of nights, I’d go under the quilts with her hugging me tightly. The warmth in her body radiated to mine and warmed in a way that no other heavy clothes could; she warmed me from inside. Now, we were two hollow bodies touching each other; misery emptied our very depth and filled it with itself ruling over our entities.
If not for the hand touching mine, I would’ve doubted the fact of mum being aware of my presence. Her eyes stared at the same spot unseeingly for ages. Without any expectations from myself that she should change her posture, I was surprised when she moved her chair closer to my own and put her heard over my shoulder. My head towered over hers when our tears soaked my clothes. I was even more surprised when she spoke, but soon enough, that feeling was replaced by pain squeezing my stomach and ripping my heart out of my chest.
“I want my baby back,” her tired voice said.
“I miss her too, mum”
“She left without goodbye. She shouldn’t. She was so young to die”
“I know. Would it be any easier if it was me who died in that car accident, if it as she sitting right beside you now soothing you.” The words came without me realizing it.
Her eyes were still focused on that same spot when she said, “No. It wouldn’t. I want you both with me. But at least I have you. I would’ve had no reason to go on if you both left. I never suffered in my life more than when you were in the ER and I stood in the hallway not knowing which one of you was gone”
The nightmare flashed up in my mind. It was so hard to believe that it had been a whole year; it seemed a lot less than that. Would it matter when I woke up and felt the pain still fresh in my heart? When passing beside her room made tears escape from my eye? When I still felt the space she left behind? My physical injuries were sealed, but my emotional were still bleeding till I wonder if I had any blood left in my heart. They say time makes you forget. It’s not time. It’s change. And I didn’t change. Nothing did. I was supposed to go on and live, but how when the only way to do that was to forget her. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. How could I ever let the shadows of hr laughter run escape my memory? Or how she covered her mouth while smiling? Or how her face glowed when somebody bought her presents? When the only thing left from her is a reminiscence living inside of me, I wouldn’t let go of her. I wouldn’t let her die again. I wouldn’t kill her.
My eyes searched the wall for her photo hanging there when a strange voice rang in my ears. Laughter. I was laughing. Mum’s gaze followed my own and her face was baffled when she saw the object of my amusement.
“Oh…….she was…..happy…. we ….were….happy….and now…..she’s not……..we …are…not. We…..are……crying…..Look …..at us……..we are a ..mess!”
I had a lot of time to wonder if I’d lost it. Now, I watched as laughter hurt my mouth and tears burnt my cheek. Our cheeks.