Good morning. Sort of.
A deafening clap of thunder echoed through the air and shook the window panes. It was a harsh beginning of what would prove to be the longest fucking morning of my life. Squinting once, twice, I sat up and tried to recall what had occurred to lead me here, in the living room, where I was splayed out awkwardly across the couch. I stood up, yawning and running my hand through disheveled brown hair. Gazing around the room, I saw it. There. On the counter acting as a coaster to an empty glass, was the postcard. My heart rate instantly accelerated and the recollection of the bathroom, the postcard, the screaming, it all hit me like a well-placed sucker punch. I reeled backwards, knocked onto the couch by the sheer weight of the previous night's events.
Skip to me riding the Green Line from Cicero. On the train questions buzzed thorough my head. One kept resurfacing over and over though.
What the fuck?
Skip to me pretending to be normal, going to work. National threat level today: Orange, how comforting. At O'Hare, I slipped three or four pills in my mouth, to forget. I may be an airport employee, but my real work is done in construction. Painkillers are like bricks. I take them to build a wall. The wall stops my feelings, fears, all the bullshit from penetrating my consciousness. They keep me isolated.
Skip to me not caring about your luggage from FLG, LAX, PBI. Flagstaff, Arizona, Los Angeles, California, West Palm Beach, Florida. Rain drops slide down big glass windows. Boeing 737-900's roar down the runway. Numbers, abbreviations, I do not care.
Skip to me opening my mailbox. My head hoping and my heart dreading for the inevitable. Reaching in, I pulled out what I knew would be there. “Howdy from Texas!” I didn't turn the postcard over. I extracted a lighter from my pocket. Flames licked the sides of the card and the message on the back was reduced to ash.
Skip to me crying in my living room. A glass of Strawberry Kool-Aid rests on the coffee table, half empty. A bottle of pills is tipped over, half full.
Take a deep breath. Hold it. You feel in control; you could breathe at any time. Feel that tension in your lungs. The slight burn of the oxygen in your chest. Now imagine you're at the bottom of the fucking ocean. The surface is 50 meters above. You're halfway to drowning. The panic sets in. Your calm, collected breath is now incomprehensible fear. The slight burn has turned to a fierce pain. The edges of your vision start to blur. The blur turns black. The sense of inevitability and helplessness overtakes you. Welcome to my fucking world, every minute of every day, until I take my pills. And you wondered why I hear the ocean when I close my eyes.