Another piece of flash fiction. A fragment of something I’ve been working over in my head recently. I am listening to Robert Plant’s “Funny in My Mind (I Believe I’m Fixin’ to Die)”.
There are things I want to tell you. Things I need you to know.
I haven’t always been this way. I used to be happy. I used to walk around in the daylight. I used to be around people. I used to smile and laugh and tell jokes. I kissed boys. I drank lemonades. I went to school and church and the grocery store. I listened to music. I watched TV. I read books. I slept in the nighttime and woke, fresh and frisky, in the morning ready to meet the world and answer whatever the day required of me.
That was before the dreaming captured me. That was before I drowned in the tumult of my own feverish imaginings. Before the Long Sleep, I was a girl just like you. I was impetuous, impatient and eager. I was awake and alive and filled with enthusiasm.
And now I am something altogether different. I am caught in perpetual sleep, left to boil in the hot, bitter stew of my dreams.
You will not believe the things I have seen in my dreaming. The places I have been. There is so much I want to tell you. So much possibility just beneath the surface of things.
I can hear stumbling around the house, trying to keep things going – the bills, the dishes, the laundry. I hear you out there taking care of daily business, making sure I eat and drink. The hundred thousand phone calls to doctors. The knocks at the door from concerned neighbors, which are already much less frequent than they used to be.
I can hear you out there, taking care of me. You are a good daughter. Doing the things that need doing because there is no other choice. I hear you stumbling, knocking into things. I hear the cursing, the frustrated sighs. I hear the sharp pinch of anger when you speak to my body. I hear the resignation, the unfairness.
Sometimes, I wonder which of us is trapped in the dreaming. I am lying here and traveling, constantly traveling, but a part of me is always with you, listening to the shuffling sound of your steps. The color has gone out of your life. You are a somnambulist, a sleepwalker, shuffling through your day and I realize you are captured too. You are caught inside a life that is not your own. And you are frantic and frightened and afraid you might never escape.
You are a good daughter. There is so much I want to tell you. I wish you could see the things I see. Such beauty. Exquisite. Sometimes painful. The terrible beauty inside this perpetual dream.