Thursday, April 23, 2009

Daily Story 8: Lucidity

My sister looks tired. She has bags under her eyes, dark circles that tell the world she isn't getting enough sleep. She's smiling though, she's always so careful to smile when she talks to me because she knows it's not my fault that this happened. She's asking what I want for dinner tonight so I tell her the little German woodwind guys, but her eyebrows scrunch up into her I-don't-understand face. I feel like I was clear and concise, but I've learned to trust her. I try to rewind the conversation in my head and focus on her question. This time I ask for a hamburger, and she gives a thumbs-up before heading into the kitchen, carpet blooming into flowers behind her.

There are no flowers, I know that and a second look confirms it. They lease fences to contain the flowers though, and... no, that thought doesn't even make sense. I get up and head to the treadmill so I can work out some and force my body to wake up a little. Hopefully I can stay clear long enough to have an actual conversation with my sister over dinner. The readout on the treadmill says something indistinct about french fries the first time I look at it, but it's okay after that. Why was I thinking about french fries? I wonder if we're having hamburgers for dinner, that could explain it. I seem to remember talking to my sister about hamburgers a few minutes ago, but I don't see her now so that might not have been real.

She comes into the room after I've been running for about ten minutes, and she leans on the treadmill. She's not smiling as much now because she can tell I'm awake and so she's less worried about getting frustrated and hurting my feelings. I ask her about her day, and she tells me it was boring. I ask if the check has come in, and that's when I know what's causing the dark circles. She doesn't answer, but her lips tighten and she glares at nothing with her I'll-cut-you face. I ask her what happened, and she tells me that the check isn't coming. The company that made the defective implant ("A miracle cure for insomnia! Like a pacemaker for sleep! Never spend a night staring at the ceiling again!") has gone under, and they won't be paying the court-ordered settlement. I'll still get government disability checks once the paperwork goes through, but that's it. I stop the treadmill and crush her in a bear hug, and I know she needs it because she doesn't complain about the sweat from my workout. I'm wondering how bad the waves outside are for a second before I remember we're not on a boat, but I don't think I missed anything. She's just quiet, letting me squeeze her.

We sit down to eat our hamburgers and I'm feeling mostly lucid. I'm forming memories for sure, and there are no hallucinations, though my background thoughts are wandering. I tell her that she looks like crap, and I suggest that if she's not sleeping she should get one of those new anti-insomnia implants. She tries to give me her that's-not-funny look, but can't help laughing. I watch her stick her tongue out at me and I'm relieved, I know that things will work out somehow and we'll both be just fine as long as the red things on the couch aren't sleeping while the battered old hat floats away on that curling tide.