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Waking Up

the ceiling is white. it is white with little white speckles. how can that be. the ceiling must be gray and then white speckles can show through. why do i care. i care because i have nothing else to care about. i have nothing else to care about. i have nothing else to care about.
Later, Marie would wonder at the simplicity, the easy flow of her thoughts. As she lies on her bed, the warm sheets pressing into her back, the days of sleep, of undiluted black unconsciousness behind her, her mother is upstairs baking cookies for the next door neighbor’s mother, who just turned one hundred. They are saying she will live forever but this is not true, because one month from now Marie’s mother will be baking cookies for the neighbor’s mother’s funeral. Her father is hovering outside Marie’s door, waiting to come in, waiting for his beloved daughter to stir. Their dog is outside sniffing a fire-engine red fence. He will pee on the fence and then he will move on and pee on the grass. When he crosses the road a car will come barreling down the hot, black pavement and hit him. The family will spend the money they were saving for Marie’s psychiatrist’s future payments, for when Marie would get up to go to the appointments, on the dog that has lasted longer than Marie herself. He’ll die anyway, that dog. Her parents will bury the dog in the yard with their own sweat and pain and plant a big magnolia over his dead body. A long while later, the future owners of the house will knock down the building and keep the magnolia because it reminds them of their old house’s magnolia. It will die the next year.
the door opens and there is a weight at the bottom of my bed. and i can hear the hinges swing back as the door closes. and i have been awake for a day. i know this because i rolled over and checked my clock. i am still facing that way. i am tired again but i cannot sleep. i know why i cannot sleep. but i have nothing else to care about. nothing else but sleep to worry about. nothing.
Her parents wonder what is wrong but they do not and never will know. Sometime later Marie will stretch out her feet. She will land on the floor and stand and go to the bathroom. she will dunk her head
once
twice
three times.

four times. i am waking up. i know what i am doing here. i know because i know what he looked like. he looked like a heaven angel. i cannot forget this. i will not forget this. i have nothing else to care about.

twelve times.

eighteen times. Her parents come
into
the room and her father pulls her face from the water as she leans to dunk it again. her hair is dark, almost black, her eyes are blank and black as her hair. this is curious to her parents because she has blue eyes. she has always had blue eyes.
no wonder. No wonder I slept. The pain is coming back, now. I can feel the punctuation, the emotion in my thoughts. I can feel his face in my hands when I close my eyes, see the light playing in his hair. And her. Her hair, too. The blonde windswept wonder.
Later Marie will go upstairs. She will flinch at every creak as she mounts the stairs. She will go into the kitchen and take out her mother’s best butchering knife. Then she will slowly saw a cut in each hand to remind her of the pain. She will not cry out as it breaks the skin as the red falls onto the floor as she slowly presses the knife to her heart and cuts through
nine months and countless years’ worth of growth. through ribs. to her lungs and her heart, which she pierces calmly. the pain does not reach her in this state. it will never reach her again, this she knows.

never, ever again.





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