I am attempting to look through the windows. I am facing them. I am about three feet from the panes of glass. They are opaque. I do not know why. I know they should be translucent. I am not sure how I know this but I do. Are they mocking me? When I turn around away from them it seems as if they change, slowly, blurring what is behind the glass at first, then showing what it to be seen. I cannot be sure. When I spin quickly back to face them they are opaque again. I just see the change for split seconds, making me doubt what I’ve seen at all, but I know. I need to know what is behind the glass. I have an intense awareness of the need. Once again the knowledge of the need is there, but not the knowledge of how I know this. I walk right up to the glass. I hold my hands around my eyes. I try to peer inside. I think I can see shadows of objects moving around, but I am not sure. The glass is not reflective. It is black. I knew it was glass before I approached it. Now I know. The cold yet nonmetallic feel of it. I knock on it and it sounds like glass confirming what I already know. I have never seen black glass. Almost every other color and they were translucent. I know black is not a color and I wonder if that is relevant. Clear glass is colorless. Is this the inverse of glass? This I do not know. I do not know why I don’t know while knowing all the other whys.

This seems paranormal. I nearly know this, but not quite. I want to know what this is all about. Why I am here. Is this relevant specifically to me? Am I one of many presented with this. Are there other people in other similar rooms trying to figure out what I am trying to figure out? Why have we been chosen? A horrifying thought occurs to me. The possibility that there are seven billion such rooms, and the entire population of the planet is involved. This is neither know nor do not know. Did I come up with this theory because I am panicking, or do I know somewhere in the recesses of my confused brain that this is fact. If this is the case, what are the babies doing? The profoundly mentally disabled, the severely ill people? I stop thinking about it. It is unconscionable. I am not successful. Tears well up in my eyes. How long will be in here. How long will the babies survive without food and water or milk? How long until I die. There is no food in this room. Nothing to drink. I try to remind myself that I might be the only one, but the knowledge there are more is forming. I am not sure if it seven billion or seven. I do not know if this matters to me or not. Of course it does. The thought than the Earth’s population might become extinct in the very near future is horrifying. I would sacrifice myself for them. I know that I would go through with the promise too. Seven billion people is too big a number for me to wrap my head around. The thought of them all dying is too much. I have never been able to understand the fact that six million people were murdered by The Nazis. I frequently think about it. I am interested in World War II literature and non-fiction. I have never been able to imagine the scope of the genocide. Yet here I am becoming more and more aware that we are all here. I don’t know yet if we are destined to die. I am scared. No petrified. I have never been an anxious person, but from hearing others describe them I know I am on the brink of a panic attack. I am able to reign the feelings in just a touch. Enough to breath more easily, but not to lift the elephant sitting on my chest.

Last night I went to sleep early. I was reading a novel about two lovesick twenty somethings. It was complete trash but my best friend Joanne had pushed it on me so I felt obliged to read it. I passed out after a few mind-numbing pages. When I woke up I was disoriented. I thought I was in a dream. I could feel the hard floor beneath me. No pillow. I still wasn’t sure until I had fully awakened that this was not a dream. I have been in this reality since then. I have no idea how much time has passed. It feels like two or three hours, but without any stimulus to give me a clue, a hint, I can not know. I have already tried banging on the glass with no response. I wonder is it one-way glass. Are they observing my every move? Who are they? Are they the government? Are they my government? Someone else’s? Does it matter? If this is the doing of any government then they have shown themselves as evil. So if it is my government I am alone. They will not protect. I feel it is bigger than any government. Huge. They must be observing me. Why else would they do this? I become more and more angry. My fear and inquisitiveness nearly disappear. I start shouted as I’m facing the glass.

“What the fuck do you want?”

“Why are you doing this?”

“Let me go you bastards!”

I feel my resolve crumbling and I sink to the ground with sobs wracking my body. The already bright lights become brighter. They are trying to see what happens when they push me. Torture me. Abuse me. I cover my eyes with my hands but the light is so bright it seeps through. My sobs turn to whimpers. I feel completely defeated. I lie there for a long time. How long who knows. Suddenly the lights go out and I am in complete darkness. They are truly pushing me. From one extreme to another. I feel like I am being smothered. I crawl very slowly edging my way to the wall as far away form the glass as possible. I am disoriented however. I reach a wall, but I’m not sure which one. I pick myself up slightly and sit with my back against the wall. I stay there for a long time until I am stiff and worn out. This emotionally exhausting experience is taking a toll physically as well. I take off my sweater. It is a little chilly with just my t-shirt on, but I want something to put under my head. I shiver for a while but my body regulates to suit the ambient temperature. I eventually fall asleep.

I wake up groggy. I have no idea how long I’ve been asleep. It takes me a few seconds to notice, but the whole room is different. The room is longer but more narrow. The walls are now blood red. The ceiling is too. Even the floor. How did they do this? I was in the room the whole time. There is now a small desk in here with me. It is metal and is bolted down to the floor. There is a chair which is also metal and bolted down. The chair is at a comfortable distance from the table to facilitate any kind of work on the table. I stand up and notice a piece of paper and a pen. The pen is a ‘BIC’ pen. At least that’s what it says on it. Is this evidence that this is a human experiment? I have no better word to describe it. I notice it is chilly again so I pick up my sweater and put it on. I sit on the chair. I look towards the glass. It is unchanged: black; imposing; and still not see through. I stare down at the piece of paper. Do I dare write or draw on it. I know they will read it and examine it. Maybe I don’t care. I do care that I am still captive and that they are watching and they seem to be testing me. I turn to the window.

“What do you want me to do with this piece of paper?”

“What do you think it will tell you?”

I pick up the piece of paper and tear it in half. I am going to tear it all into tiny pieces.

“STOP,” booms a voice from somewhere.

It seem to come from nowhere. There are no speakers that I can see. It doesn’t seem to be coming from behind the glass either. There is no discernable direction. I cease what I am doing. This is the first sign of anything outside the room. I don’t know whether to continue shredding, or to do as told. I want to provoke them. I also want to find out what they want me to do.

“Tell me what you want me to do with the paper and I’ll stop, otherwise I’ll tear it into tiny little pieces.”

I obviously don’t know if they are talking to each other trying to decide what to do, or just ignoring me. They don’t answer quickly so I walk right up to the glass.

“Five seconds assholes. 5… 4… 3… 2…”

The voice comes loudly “Stop. You know have two smaller pieces of paper. On one write down five material possessions of yours that you would save if there was a fire.”

This is like the game everyone plays in grade school. It seems pointless. Whatever. I decide to play along. Should I put things I don’t want, or I do want. I want to mess with their heads, but I want to know their response to my actual wants. I decide to be truthful. What would I save? My laptop? Phone? What else? Is it be ridiculous to put down my vibrator? I would want it. Screw ’em. I write it down. I guess I can’t put people or animals down. I wish my dog Oscar was here. I got him when he was six weeks old. I took his name from Oscar Mayer. Yes. Very original I’m sure. I miss Oscar. I have hardly thought of him. I feel guilty. Where is he? Is he being taken care of? I doubt it. Tears form in my eyes and tumble down my cheeks. It quickly turns to bawls. Gut-wrenching, sobbing crying. I can hardly breath. The thought of him dying is too much.

“Why are you crying?” the voice booms.

I suck in heaving breaths. “Where is Oscar? Where is my dog?”

I expect an answer. Stupid me. They are just curious. They do not care about my pain. They want to know anything and everything about me. I slump to the floor again. Dejected. Broken. I start to realize I am hungry. I haven’t eaten since the evening before last. It hits me in waves. My stomach feels like it’s crushed in on itself. I feel nauseous. How did I not notice before? I suppose I have been so consumed by what is happening. How long can the human body go without food? Water? How will I cope with the symptoms of hunger? I believe it will be awfully painful, and the hunger itself extremely distressing. I am debating whether or not to register a complaint or not. It might make them starve me more. It may make them feed me. I have no idea how their thought processes work. I suppose I never will fully. They surprise me every turn. Just when I think I have an idea of what they might do, they change things up. Is this part of the plan? To confuse me? Are they disorganized? I think not. Standing up I beg.

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know if the care whether I live or die. I don’t know anything. I am powerless. You win.”

I am desperate. In this moment I do not care if they win. I know I can not. I just need to be fed.

“Please. Please. Please.”

I slump to the ground before being able to complete my request. They don’t say anything. I am hardly crying this time. My eyes are wet, but only a solitary tear rolls down my check. I heave a big sigh of resignation. I stand once more. Angry rather than upset now.

“I need food. If you are not going to feed me then just shoot me now. That is the only fair thing to do. I know you don’t actually care about fairness. You have shown that. If your intention is to watch me starve to death, there is nothing I can do about it. If not, feed me now.”

A response blares over the speakers. I am not sure if it is louder and that it means something, or if because I hear it rarely it seems louder than I expect each time.

“You will be fed and given liquid today.”

That is all I get. I think it is morning still. I have no idea when I woke up however. I have no idea how much time has passed since then. Will they feed me in ten minutes, or at 23:59? Neither would surprise me. Both would. It is reassuring to know I will be fed. It eases my hunger slightly, but also seems to bring more awareness of it to me. This day will drag on forever. I will not be able to tell when the day is over. Does it matter if they feed me now or at 23:59? I will not know the difference. Obviously the sooner the better, but without a sense of time, I have no goal to last until. It is futile to guess when it will happen.

At some point in this day, unless they lied – I would not know – a shelf comes out from just below the glass. I know there were now openings in the wall. I examined every inch of this room shortly after this all started. I notice I am thinking more about that, than the food. I leap towards the shelf, worried it will retract before I can reach it. I place it on the floor as to examine the shelf and the opening. When I look back up it is gone. There was no sound when it closed, and once again there is no visual or tactile sense that it was ever there. The technology involved is either alien, or something extremely advanced developed by humans without lay persons’ knowledge. I pick up the tray and place it on the table. I sit. Examining the tray I see a jar of something the color of morning urine. I hope it is apple juice. There are no markings on the jar. It looks to be about a pint. I feel the outside. It feels like glass, but knocking on it produces a dull sound indicating some kind of plastic. Picking it up it seems to be as heavy as glass. Whatever it is, it is not of any material I have come across before. I look at the food. I am starving, but afraid to eat because I know my stomach will hurt after being empty this long. The food is easily identifiable: a ham and cheese baguette; an orange; some baby carrots; some ranch dressing; and a small chocolate chip cookie. I feel like I am in grammar school. And what the fuck? A cookie? They’re keeping me prisoner, but I get dessert? This is just bizarre. I decide to drink some of the urine first hoping it is in fact juice. I am extremely thirsty, and the juice will help fill me up a little, paving the way for food, as well as quenching my thirst. I attack the bottle so quickly that I spill some down my face. I stop. I must not waste what I have. I put the bottle down, savoring the taste of what turned out to be apple juice. I pause and debate whether I should eat straight away, or wait a while. Hunger gets the better of me and I polish off half of the baguette. I regret it almost instantly. My stomach seizes up and spasms. I have to lie on my side in the fetal position. I stay like that for some time, belching and cringing in pain. Slowly the pain subsides. I am still hungry, but wary to continue with my meal. I take a few slow sips of the juice, and sit against the far wall. I torture myself by looking at the tray. Hungry yet scared.

“Why are you not eating?” the voice booms again.

“Because you didn’t feed me for so long my stomach doesn’t know what to do with the food!” I retort, shouting.

There is nothing more from beyond the glass. Either they accept my answer, or don’t care enough to follow up. I start thinking of things I used to do when I was bored as a kid. Most involve other objects. I have nothing in this room. Everything else I can think of involves searching for things in your environment: things of the same color; texture; starting with the same letter. I have no stimulus in this room. Just my tray of food and me. I start reciting the states one by one. Out loud. Slowly. Wasting as much time as possible.

“Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas…”

I make sure I stretch it out as long as possible. Then I decide to repeat it but with state capitals. It should take twice as long. No. Longer. I will have to think hard about some of the capitals, others I may not know.

“Montgomery, Alabama. Juneau, Alaska. Phoenix, Arizona. Little Rock, Arkansas…”

The first few are always the easiest. You learn them first, you lose them last. I get stuck on several. North Dakota, Maryland, Washington. I stay on them for as long as I can stand until I either remember or give up. I go around again this time trying to remember the ones I forgot. The game seems to last a while, but it could have been a few minutes for all I know. I try and pass the day with other childish games. Anything is better than staring at the disgusting blood-red walls.

“You will be fed three meals every day from now on,” the voice booms suddenly.

I am ecstatic that I will be fed, and devastated of the implications of “every day from now on.” Oh God. Are they going to keep me forever. I am embarrassed to say that I’ve been urinating in a corner. I picked the one furthest away from the glass, and on the side of the room opposite the chair. The floor is level and the pool keep spreading. The smell is getting worse and worse. It reminds me of a men’s bathroom, and I stifle a giggle. Then I sob again. Laughing makes my cry.

“Feeding me is going to make me need to shit.” I shout. “Do you want me to do that on the floor you assholes?”

Nothing in return. I lie as far from my urine as possible, using my sweater as a pillow once more. I have done nothing physical today, and I am sure the day is not over (whatever that means anymore), but I am exhausted. I feel myself fading into sleep within minutes. As my last moments of awareness dwindle, I am glad I won’t be conscious for a while…

When I wake again, whatever day and time it is, the food is gone, the urine is gone, and there is a toilet, toilet paper, and a sink and towel in my room. The walls are now a pale yellow. I wonder if they are testing my mood based on the color of the room. The first thing I do is urinate. It is so nice to have a proper toilet to go in, I have no modesty in using it. I have already peed on the floor several time. I wouldn’t care if they saw my bare ass. Afterwards and I clean my hands, I wash my face and any exposed skin. I feel disgusting now having showered in so long.

“Any chance of a shower boys?” I laugh.

The shelf opens silently and once again there is a tray of food: a croissant; a banana; and some orange juice. I really am living in the lap of luxury now. I giggle to myself inside and immediately wonder if I am going crazy. I am able to eat the entire meal this time, but very slowly. A couple of hours after breakfast I decide to exercise. I have barely moved the whole time I have been here. I do some stretches, push ups, and jumping jacks. Anything to pass the time and get me moving. Nothing exciting happens for the rest of the day except my defecation. I half expect them to ask me not to flush so they can examine it. I already know that I would have flushed it to piss them off.

The next morning I wake up and there is nothing in the room again. Gone are the table and chair. Gone is the toilet and sink and all that went with them. The walls are white and the glass is white. I do not know whether to be scared or excited at the big changes. Since I do not know what the mean I suppose there is no point in predicting any outcome. The most interesting part to me is the glass. I wonder what it signifies. ********* My palms are sweaty. The room is not particularly warm, but I suppose nervousness aided the process. I place them on the glass, holding them there for about half a minute. The glass is cold. I expect palm print like fog marks to be left on in. Nothing. What is this? Why is this? I knock on the glass again. I have no idea what I expect to learn. I have no idea why I bother. I wonder if I really care. Of course I want to live. I may not live. I still have no sense of what they want. I still think the most likely thing is that they want to learn how I tick, maybe how people in general tick. A thought comes to me. An idea. What I stop eating? What if I went on a hunger strike? Would that piss them off enough, make them release me before I died. Could I handle not eating for long enough? It was awful with only a day and a half off food. Long enough for them to start worrying about my health? Would they worry enough? Enough to release me? Would they hold me down and force-feed me? I doubt it given that they have not shown themselves once. Who knows what they will do? I decide I will try not to eat. No. I will not eat!

The rest of the day drags. They ask me to put the breakfast tray on the shelf when it slides out. They produced lunch a short while later. I take it over to the table and leave it there. I wonder if I had left it on the shelf if they would have retracted it. I will try that at dinner time. I am fine for now. Breakfast is tiding me over through lunchtime. Some hours later dinner comes out the shelf. I wonder why they bother giving me that when I still have lunch on the table. Is it out of a sense of routine? For me? For them? Is it another test? Of what I am not sure. I leave it there as planned. After some time – maybe half an hour they crack. At least that’s what I like to think.

“Eat. You must eat!”

“No.” I reply. “Screw you.”

They do not say anything. I hope they are at a loss as to what to do. I am having trouble not eating. My stomach is complaining. It might be easier if I did not have food in the room with me. I know they will not activate the shelf again. They want me to have the food with me. They presume I will give in. I am worried that I will. It takes an astounding amount of will to keep this up. I lie down hoping I can sleep so that I won’t be conscious to feel hunger. I find it difficult, but do fall asleep. I have barely moved around the room today, but the lack of energy from not eating made me more tired than I thought.

I wake up at some time. I have no idea when. My body clock is completely off, or maybe it is not. Since I do not know, I suppose that means that it is. Not only is the food gone, the table and chair are too. The walls are bright pink. Here we go. They are pulling this crap again. Messing with my head. I wonder if they have some schedule unknown they are following to make the big changes, or if it is punishment for yesterday’s defiance. I doubt I will ever know. I do not think it really matters anyway. The glass is back to black.

Very shortly after waking breakfast pops out of the wall. It smells absolutely delicious. Is this a conscious decision on their part. Are they tempting me as much as they can hoping I will eat? Maybe it is just coincidence. Today happens to be ‘Amazingly Delicious Breakfast Day’ in Camp Nutso. Once again it does not matter, except in the fact I am most definitely likely to crack. The day drags out. Somehow the aroma of the food remains strong troughout the day. My stomach cramps on and off. More on than off as time passes. I try to sleep to stop the pain. It does not work.

“You must eat. You cannot survive without food. We have done our research.”

This increases the likelihood that they are not human. I do not know if that is good or bad. Probably neither. We humans have proved through centeries of history that we are capable of incredible evils against each other. I have no idea if these beings are any worse or better. I suppose they can not be worse. Or do they think of us as beneath them? Maybe we are in terms of intelligence, progressiveness, and civility. Back comes the thought of food. I do not know how to make it through today without it. I wonder if I just took the juice would that count as eating? To them? To me? I feel a lot worse than yesterday. Tired, weak, sluggish. I imagine its a mixture of hunger, exhaustion, and extreme stress. I have somehow not felt as stressed as I would have thought I might be. I’m not sure if the situation is so far from my comprehension that I just accept it on some level. I do feel that breaking down now. Too many days have passed and I am more scared, no, recognizing my fear more now.

“You must eat.”

“You eat. You sleep. You find out what you want to know.”

I am beyond surprised. Do they mean it? They have not lied to me yet. Will they really tell me what’s going on? I don’t know what to think. I want it to be evening again. I will eat today. I do not care if they are playing games with me. The hunger has become too difficult to bare. I stare at the now-cold breakfast. There no longer is the glorious smell there was earlier, but I can still recreate it mentally. I know the breakfast will not taste nearly as good as it would have earlier. I can not wait. I grab the tray and slump to the floor holding it. I do not hesitate at all. I push food into my mouth. A whole sausage link. Nearly half a pancake. On and on. I have finished it. I feel stuffed. I am okay for a little bit, but then pain starts up. Sharp jabs initially, turning into awful cramps. I feel like I am going to throw up or to pass out. I knew when I was eating that I should have slowed down, but I could not help myself. I don’t know whether to stand, sit on the ground, or lie down. I try all three and immediately regretting getting down on the ground. I fear I will never get up. Once I sit I know it will be extremely difficult to stand again. Once I lie down, I know it will be very difficult to get back into a seated position. So I just lie here on the cold floor. I feel just about well enough intermittently to be anticipatory of the information I will be given tomorrow. Mostly I lie and suffer. I hope sleep will hit me. That way the next time I am conscious I will know. The food however, apart from causing pain, has also given me some energy. I will not pass out form lack of calories this evening. I’m pretty sure it is only around lunchtime anyway. Well lunchtime relative to when I woke up. It could be any time. After maybe an hour, I finally feel well enough to get up off the ground. My stomach is still cramping a little but feels so much better than before. I walk slowly around the room, easing myself back into my new normality.

“I need to shit.” I shout, as the urge becomes greater.

Who would have known eating a ton of food really fast would trigger the urge to defecate. There is no reply. As time goes by it is obvious there will be no help. I hate doing this, but I’ve already gone once before and peed numerous times. Did I really? I think I would have stage fright, but I needed to go so badly it didn’t take long. The hardest part was that I was in agony. The kind of agonizing bowel movement where you hold onto the wall. Crouching was a terrible way to expel this shit. I was obviously in a lot of pain, panting and puffing. I’m sure, if they were extraterrestrial, that they felt they were getting great data from my pooping. How exciting for them. If they were human then they were just assholes. When I finally finish I head to the other side of the room again. The smell is disgusting as expected. I feel gross. I have not showered in days. I have had two bowel movements and many, many urinations without toilet paper. No deodorant, no clean clothes. This is the most dirty I have even been or felt. I smell worse than a homeless person. I immediately feel guilty for making the comparison. I have always had great sympathy for homeless people. Most of them do not make the choice to be homeless. Most of them who do, are mentally ill, and in fact do not hold the responsibility for that decision. Regardless of my thoughts on homelessness, the fact is I do smell worse. In some ways this is the worst part. Well obviously not as bad as being held against my will. If anyone I knew saw (or smelled) me in this state I would be mortified. I had to hope that some day they would let me go. Maybe sooner than that, let me shower, give me a toilet, maybe give me books to read? The longer this goes on, the less they will learn from me. At what point will they decide me shitting is no longer interesting. Even better, they may decide that studying my showering habits is riveting. I will not even care if they see me naked. They have brought me to a level of lack of self consciousness I did not think was possible. They offer food one more time. Dinner. I am still feeling tender from lunch. I ignore it. I start getting sleepy. I know it will take a while to sleep. Between my stomach and my filth it is difficult. My entire genitalia, and anus is sticky and disgusting. It is constantly in my head. Impossible to remove. Every time I think I am falling asleep, I roll over to get more comfortable, and my filthy body moves in such a way as to disgust me all over again. It feels like hours until I finally sleep. I dream about running through fields, swimming on a beach, being on top of a mountain. I suppose my brain is yearning for absolute freedom.

I am waking up, slowly. Light is pouring through my closed eyelids. They decided not to turn out all the lights last night. This lights feels different. As I slowly open my eyes, squinting, I realize this must be natural light. They must have made the glass translucent and light is pouring in from outside. I shoot up into a seated position. I am utterly confused. I’m not in the room. I appear to be in my bedroom. I look around. Maybe they’ve recreated my bedroom. It’s identical to the way I left it days ago. I’ve no idea how long I’ve been gone. I really can’t tell if I’m back or not. Is it all a dream? Was that place a dream? How would I know? It all felt very real. I pick up my cell. It’s charging on the stand beside the bed. I look at it and notice the date: September 16. That was the morning I went missing, or whatever I did. Surely it was a dream. The most real dream I have ever had. I stand up and grab a towel. I’m going to shower to think this through. As I undress I notice the smell emanating from me, and the disgusting feeling inside my panties. This proves I was not dreaming. What happened? Why does my cellphone say the same date as days ago? Despite my own filth, I put off the shower to check on Oscar. He is in his basket, in the kitchen and barks to greet me. He acts as if nothing is amiss. He seems fed and watered. This is more and more confusing. I open my front door. Today’s paper: September 16. I burst into tears. I don’t know who to talk to. I run the shower very hot. It turns my skin red. I was off the nightmare of the last several days. Then I turn it to cold. To shock me into reality and to make me feel fresh. Whenever I’m angry or frustrated I love a cold shower. I spend thirty nine minutes in the shower. I can tell now because I have clocks, watches, and phones. I turn on the TV. Anything to confirm this is now reality.

I feel so confounded by this all. How would anyone not be? What is up? What is down? The Today Show tells me it 08:17. Usually I would be at work by now. Is it Wednesday? The day I ‘disappeared’. Apparently I didn’t disappear though. Should I go to work? That is the most ridiculous thought I think I have ever had, including the crazy things I came up with when I was ‘away’. No. I’m not going to work. I will call in though. Not yet. Who should I talk to? Should I talk to anyone? There’s no way I’m talking to mom. We are very close, but not only is this crazy, I think it would just confuse her. I don’t know how Joanne would react. We have been friends for years. We trust each other completely. We’ve always been there for each other. I imagine her coming to tell me something like this. I would initially think she was joking, and then as I realized she was serious, I would seriously question her sanity. I think I would go to her parents to try to help her. So really, I can’t turn to anyone. I may end up just going to my dad. He’s in a care home for people with Alzheimers who can no longer take care of themselves. We put him in the home last year. Mom couldn’t put up with things anymore. I visit him regularly. Sometimes he recognizes me, sometimes he doesn’t. He mostly has no idea what’s going on around him. I could talk at him, without him freaking out. There is no way he will comprehand the full implications of what I’m telling him. I call work and tell them there’s been a family emergancy, and I need the rest of the week off. I will rest today. Treat myself with kidd gloves. I decide to throw my clothes out. I will never wear them again. They are filthy and I know they will also feel so to me. I will always be reminded of those awful few days if I put any piece of them on. When I toss them in the trash, it is almost empty still. I take the bag anyway and tentatively go down the back stairs to the dumpsters. I am afraid to be outside. It’s only been a few days, but everything seems foreign. I make sure I leave the house a few times during that first day. I know if I don’t, it will become increasingly difficult to do so. The convenience store is two blocks away. I can’t face the grocery store. It is both further away and busier. I take Oscar to the park. I avoid eye-contact when normally I would smile and even chat with other dog owners. Lastly I go for a short brisk walk around the block. I have to push myself to do each thing. I decide to treat myself to a take-out. Thai. My favorite. I decide I need to take a sleeping pill tonight. I know I won’t sleep tonight. Tomorrow I will go to visit dad. Maybe I’ll feel able to talk to mom afterwards. About normal things. The thought boggles my mind. That I might be normal again.

After my take-out, cleaning up a little, I head to bed and take my sleeping pill. It ususally takes thirty minutes to kick in. I try to read Joanne’s crappy book. I cannot concentrate. It seems ridiculous that I even thought I might be able to. Instead I can’t help but think about my time ‘there’. Eventually tiredness hits like a brick. I feel my eyelids become leaden. I find myself thinking of my dad as I fade out. I can’t wait to see him tomorrow. To get some of this heavy weight that’s holding me down off me. He will become my therapist, best friend, confident. He will not talk back, but he is the only one who will not think I am crazy. How ironic is that???

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