Beddy awakes feeling spiritually jetlagged, her senses gray as an Osmond morning.
The clock reads 10:43 AM but you couldn’t tell from inside her room, which when her heavy denim curtains are drawn is oblivious to light. “Like a crack den,” Connie likes to say when she sleeps over. Beddy thinks that’s how rooms should be, stubbornly dark to the world. Bastions.
She is exhausted, maybe equally by wakinglife and dreamlife. It is still a point in the morning when the two are entangled.
She often wakes exhausted from dreams that play out as faintly demoted nightmares. Much more trauma than terror. If they would only be nightmares, she could wake up from them at the tipping point when the pursuer, any shadowy force, was about to nab her or, when the brain could not process its mortality and so wakes itself up. Without becoming nightmares, she is left to run on, or climb on, until the dream concludes because she’s safe, but with nowhere left to go. She’s on a rooftop, safe from the pursuers, but she can never get off that rooftop.
Had she really been chased through a cornfield last night, dogs nipping at her trailing nightgown, the exposed cobs glowing like spectral lanterns?
Had Todd not shown up, and she freaked and cut her dress in two as it still draped around her?
Had she run over Kelsey Taper with a truck, and stalked up to her junior high campus and burned it to the ground, all with her mind, by wishing it?
She has her answer when she tosses the covers back and air hits the cuts along her cleavage. Where the scissors had nicked her when she cut her dress in two, after Todd didn’t show up, after Duffy called to mock her, after she cried and threw up but before she went to Formal to show them all they couldn’t get her down but none of them were there.
Her memory is back, with all its terrible chronology and proof.
Nothing changes when you go to sleep. Nothing. Your problems are there waiting for you when you wake up.
The question is, now that yesterday happened, what should she do with today? Rolling back over is not an option since she’s REM-ed out, but getting up sounds too much like giving in. Better to lay here in bed, where the world can’t get her. Maybe a comet, or a commuter jet, or a space station falling out of the sky, but otherwise, she is safe. As an act of dissent, she pulls the sheets and comforter back over her tender breasts.
But gradually, in the way a kid coaxes an older sibling awake by badgering them with questions, her brain rouses her.