Clutching the pill in my hand, I walk. Maybe the Nightwalkers sense that I’m not in the mood to be messed with because I don’t see any. All I want is to get into bed and cry and cry and cry until I drown in my own tears or choke on them. Either one seems acceptable.
I turn the corner and collide with someone.
“I’m so sorry,” he says, reaching out a hand to help me up.
I consider not taking it but decide I don’t want some poor stranger to think I’m mad at him for accidentally running into me when it’s actually Jude and the Nightwalkers and the pill shortage I’m angry at. So, I let him help me up.
“Thank–” Before I can finish, I’m struck dumb by the sight of his face. “Graham?”
I throw my arms around his neck and bury my face in his chest. But then I immediately realize that he smells different and minty. I step back and look up at him, bewildered.
“I’m sorry,” he says uncomfortably. “I don’t know who Graham is. My name is Ryan, and I’m really sorry for knocking you over.”
With a nod, he walks past me. A blue goldfish swims by, causing the air to ripple.
I stand there, and the memory of meeting Graham returns to me. The day after I was diagnosed with Insomnia. Standing in line in front of the Somnology Institute. Seeing a guy in front of me in line. Meeting the guy’s eyes. He smiles at me, and I hope he’ll come back to talk to me. But after that, the memory diverges into two versions.
In one, he comes back after getting his pills and talks to me, showing me how his pill bottle is full to the brim. He tells me that he can give me some of his pills if I want. I tell him that I’m going to get pills of my own, so why would I need his? He winks at me and says he thought he would share. The thought excites me because sharing pills is a big deal. In this case, it’s a confession. We get ice cream together after I pick up my pills.
In the other version, I watch as he goes inside and wait and wait and wait for him to come back and talk to me. By the time I’m at the front of the line, I have to accept that he isn’t coming back. He might have smiled at me, but there was no real interest there or he would have made some effort. In this memory, the thought doesn’t bother me terribly–I don’t even know this guy.
And then comes another memory, completely unrelated. In this one, I’m on vacation with my parents. It’s boiling hot. I’m wearing shorts and a short-sleeved shirt, so I can feel the sun scorching my skin. I whine and complain because I don’t want to be here. I just want to go home. I trudge along behind my parents, and they tell me something, but I’m too busy pitying myself to listen. With a start, I tumble headfirst into a hole in the ground, landing heavily on my ankle. I realize immediately that this must be one of the archaeological sites and start wailing in frustration and pain for my parents to get me out.
But then I notice something is in the hol with me–blackened bones, folded together in a pile. I stop crying and stare at them, slowly backing away. They’re just bones but I feel as if they can be animated and come after me.
Snippet Saturday is my chance to share bits and pieces of my writing.