I wake up, my silk shirt is twisted around my midsection and soaked in sweat. I’m sitting upright in bed, my right hand clasped over my mouth in an instinctive reaction to stop the screams from echoing through the house. My hair is plastered to my head with cold sweat and my breath rasps in my chest. I stumbled trying to get out of bed, swinging haphazardly for the light switch. I need the lights on. I need to burn out the darkness.
The lights flash on and the room is lit in a blaze of yellow light. I can see the bed sheets half on the floor, torn from the bed in a frantic attack. I sit with my back against the closed door, feeling the cold solidness of the wood. Curled in a ball, hugging my legs into myself, I force myself to breath deep breaths in and out. Reminding myself where I am, that it was all just a nightmare.
Slowly I start to realize my nightshirt is soaked in cold sweat. I’m starting to shiver as the sweat dries upon my skin. I don’t know how long I’ve sat there hugging myself. I pry myself from the floor and open the door to the hallway. I wander down the hall to the bathroom quickly closing the door and flipping on the light. The cold yellow light beats down on me and I turn on the water in the sink. Stripping down to nothing I stand there trying to clear my head, listening to the water. I close my eyes shivering trying to remain I control of by breathing.
Standing naked in the bathroom it all comes back. Grabbing the sides of the sink I breath deeply attempting to organize my thoughts. It’s all red. I haven’t had this nightmare in over two years much less now than when it first occurred. How it mimics the events that night still terrify me. The blood …. I know it’s stress induced, I know I should be able to control it at some level.
The steam from the water in the sink rises up around my face. I dip my hands into the full basin splashing the hot water over my face. I gingerly touch around my right eye feeling where the break has healed. The crack it made … Breathe in breathe out. I reach for a wash cloth, dipping in the hot water and gingerly passing it over my arms, my breasts, my stomach. I dip in into the sink again, wringing out the excess water listening it as it falls into the full sink. I pass the cloth over my legs, I between my thighs. Everything flashes hot and white, a bang going off deep in my subconscious.
I snap up standing straight and for a split second in the mirror I see the child from that night. Tiny and hunched over, right eye bruised and swollen shut, blood running from her nose, bruises covering her arms and her wrists rubbed raw and bleeding from the constant struggle against the restraints. The blood dripping down from between her legs, pooling on the hardwood floor.
I grab the sink, grounding myself again. Looking down there’s no blood now, white tiles not wood staring back at me. Breathing in … It’s a memory, it’s just a nightmare now, it’s all in the past. I let the water out of the sink, grabbing a towel in wrap myself in its soft dryness. My footsteps softly patter back to my bedroom. Quickly fixing my bed I crawl under the covers with the towel still wrapped around me. Turning the lights off I feel more in control now. I sigh, looking at my phone I feel like talking to someone but don’t know what to say. I fall asleep phone in hand trying to decide if I should call or not.
The alarm is going off, the sun just peeking over the horizon and the autumn air is fresh with possibilities. My running shoes are sitting near the door. They are calling to me. I unwrap from my towel and quickly dress in running attire without ceremony.
Heading out the door the air hits me sending me into balance. I head down the driveway and by the time I get to the corner I can feel my hips moving in their natural rhythm. Each step I take I feel the grey veil of the previous night falling away once again into the past.