My Hidden Lives // Prose

16. slipping down the rabbit hole

down the rabbit hole_ph

The wall of my room began slowly dissolving – not visually as much as sentiently. First I stopped tasting the hard liqour on my tongue, next the stray sounds from the street all but disappeared, replaced by a buzzing music in my ears. I closed my eyes not to actually see the vibrating of the world around me. My bed was soft, and then it wasn’t my bed at all. I think I fell asleep and woke into a dream, or maybe I was hallucinating from the start. For the first time since I had gotten drunk, however, I didn’t care whether it was alcohol induced or not, because I was running on the beach toward the pier when suddenly, the buzzing stopped, my breath slowed, and I wasn’t alone anymore. Jay was with me.

The waves were huge, unlike anything I’d ever seen. They were towering over the pier. My stomach lurched with them. There was no other sound other than the water and the wind tossing Jay’s hair around – I could hear his curls brushing against one another, colliding with his blushed face. I was standing naked in the wind on the beach, and it was night. My partner in crime turned to face me, the trademark grin dancing around his lips. One, two, three – his chest heaved, counting, and we were off running to meet the crushing ocean, skipping in the shallow water oblivious to the sharp rocks under our feet. It was then I realized this had to be a dream, and hard as I tried to play along, to pretend I was still part of the spectacle, I was pulled upward from my body. The last thing I felt was a floating sensation of being carried away by an unfathomable force, and though the water had seemed menacing and cruel, it was actually warmer, and softer, than I remembered from my childhood. I saw myself enveloped in its midnight blue, my rough skinny edges contrasting the dark depths, Jay glowing silverish beside me, and we were laughing, transfixed, swimming effortlessly in circles around each other. Then the vision started to blur. I cried out for him to hold my hand. He didn’t hear me as we went on laughing, his eyes glowing brightly, but still a little dull, already but a little dead.

When I woke up, it was morning. I could taste the alcohol on my breath again and smell my own putrid sweat on the linen. The lamp on my bedside table was still lit and it hurt all of my body just to lift my hand to turn it off. When I was little, I always used to leave the light on because I was afraid of the dark shadows in my room, and my mother would come in later in the night to make sure I was asleep, and turn it off. But she was dead now, and so was Jay – they had both been dead for a while, though to me it seemed as if only yesterday they were both alive, and by waking up I was losing two people I loved at the same time. My lips were dry and chapped, and licking around them I tasted salt. The dream came back in flashes and I started crying, but even to this day I am not sure whether it was my mother, Jay, or myself I was crying for.

what the water gave me2


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