My skin tingled, relishing in the ecstasy of being free from pain. My eyes burned, begging to be closed. I forgot how to swallow. Ironic for it is something you do without thinking. 27 years of swallowing spit without so much as a second thought, and now I find it bothersome. There was no spit to swallow, so I just stopped doing it. Eliminate the useless tasks and focus on what is important: the ride.
“You’ll see less with your eyes open,” the voice said. I closed them for nine hours and I did not sleep for a moment. I cracked my skull like an egg and spilled the yolk on my bed. A messy business, but it had to be done. Look at the mess you have made. Look at these jumbled pieces with no hopes of fitting. “They fit, you just aren’t trying hard enough,” the voice said. Well now this is interesting. Normally they don’t speak to me so freely, so openly, so carefree. They are never helpful, they never speak when spoken to, and they never answer my questions. Yet here they are, whoever they are, spouting information faster than I can process. I shall stay a while.
Sober and awake, my thoughts are chaotic. Think of a stream that moves 1,000 miles a minute. It moves like a movie. Pictures, reels, words, thoughts, textures, smells, flavors. But no mind can process that much information that fast per minute, so I get a small fraction of what is playing at any given moment. It rarely makes sense, it’s often scary, and I don’t like it. But faded and sleepy? It slowed. The stream of consciousness is still moving at lightning speed, but I have been given the power to watch and comprehend every single piece. I can follow the chain of command, and the pictures make sense. Still scary, but the logic is there. Is this what we do all day every day and I have just been missing it? “You always wonder why you’re so tired all the time. We filter this. We filter this all day everyday and give you your slivers. Imagine what it takes to be your filter. You get to sleep and we don’t. Don’t ever wonder why you’re tired again.”
A rude awakening. I can’t believe I never realized that before. Everything I think, say, or do makes sense. I was just missing the context. The fatigue will be there when this high wears off.
The voice was so forthcoming, almost eager to speak with me as if they had been silent for years. I knew it was one of them, I just couldn’t figure out who. It was irrelevant, and putting names to faces wasn’t the point of this adventure. They were talking to me. They wanted to talk to me. We never talk to each other. Sobriety and revisioning had taken that from us, and I was going to get it back in what little time we had in this moment. Let’s see what you got for me.
I was in my own head. Walking, talking, going into their sections. I could walk into Phoenix’s alleyway, touch the water in Marishka’s pool, and run alongside Elena in her forest. There was no fear, no protest, no sense of urgency to retreat into my own space. Even with Elena, my freaky little woodland sprite that normally scares the hell out of me. She was going to be fine because I was there. We were all going to be fine as long as I could disappear with them. The trick? I’ve never been able to disappear sober.
When I say disappear, I guess I mean dissociate in a special kind of way. Since I was small, I could just leave your reality and go into mine. I can look you in the eye and not hear a word you’re saying, not remember a single thing about your face, and not know what’s happening around me. Because in my head? In my head I’m a knight petting a dragon in a far away land, and that is far more interesting than what you’re doing. But as I age. As my pain weighs me down, I find myself stuck in a half-world. I can still leave, but not completely. I can see the inside of my head and I can see all of them, but I can’t necessarily feel them. I can still sense everything around me in the real world and it keeps me trapped in reality.
With just a little help from a whole lotta edible, I left. I finally accomplished what I used to do as a teenager. I just left. I couldn’t see, hear, speak, or do anything. I opened my head and jumped inside and it all made sense.
What’s a girl to do when she knows that what she needs is in her head? What’s a girl to do when she knows how to get what she needs but she can’t do it sober? What’s a girl to do when she knows she needs to disappear, but she just doesn’t know how?