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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

(Dreams) Chapter 5

Hours passed. My eyes remained stubbornly open. Finally, I hissed in frustration and sat up. My head started spinning. I hoped I would pass out, but no such luck. I pulled my blanket around my shoulders and stood. I weaved my way through my messy room. Clutter was part of my life. I know most people can’t focus unless everything around them is perfect, nothing to distract them. The truth for me is I can’t focus on anything unless I want to. If I want to focus on something, I have no problem devoting all my attention to whatever. If I get distracted, it’s because I want to get distracted. When I work on something that bores me, I enjoy those moments of distraction.
I padded across my room to my balcony. As I passed my lamp, I couldn’t help but take pause. Something was wrong with it. I scrutinized it thoroughly, even turning it on and off. Absolutely nothing was wrong. A chill washed over my skin. I shivered and turned away.

My eyes fell on one of the few places on my floor that wasn’t littered with my clutter. I creased my eyebrows. What was I supposed to be looking at? In a flash, a vision jumped across my eyes. The boy, lying on that spot of floor, a soft groan escaping his throat. His eyes snapping open. Blue green staring directly into my soul. The vision dissipated.

I gasped and stumbled backwards. I bumped into my lamp, sending it crashing to the ground. I turned around in shock. Suddenly, it was right. Where before the lamp had seemed so wrong, now it was perfect. My breath came out in short gasps. What was happening to me?

I considered going out onto my balcony, but that didn’t feel right either. Something had happened in my room. I didn’t know what, but I couldn’t stay there any longer. My heart raced sporadically. Run, it screamed at me. I did.

I ran across my room. In the half-light, and blinded by fear, I couldn’t maneuver around my obstacles as usual. I tripped over something, I think my backpack. I couldn’t get up from the floor. I was paralyzed to do anything but sob uncontrollably.

I’m not sure how long I was in that position. My phone rang. I jerked in shock. The vibrating caused it to fall from where it was sitting on my bed. I snatched it up from the ground and pressed it to my ear.

“Hello?” My voice was strained

“Cade? What’s wrong? Did something happen?” It was Jason.

“No, I’m fine.” I swallowed back the rest of my tears. I covered the speaker and took steadying breaths. Even I could hear the lie in my voice.

“Why are you lying to me?”

I cleared my voice. “I’m not.” I leaned back against my bed. “Really, I’m fine.”

“Cadence, what happened?”

“Nothing happened,” I reassured him. “I just had a little nightmare.” More like a day-mare. I tried to shake off my earlier fear.

“You don’t sound good. I’m coming over.” End call.

“Ooookkaaaayyy, bye then.” My phone dropped silently from my hand.

Looking around my dark room again, I felt the same fear run over me. I stood and floated to the door like a wrath. I closed the door softly behind me. If I had my way I wouldn’t be going back in there any time soon.

I stumbled down the stairs. My parents weren’t home. The note on the table said they’d gone to make a withdrawal from the bank. They had other errands to do and wouldn’t be back for a while. I rolled my eyes wondering what kind of “errands” they had to attend to. Most likely another charity event they wanted to look good at by making a big cash donation. I wish that charity events could actually be about lifting others, not lifting up yourself. The phrase charity event was almost worse than the phrase sweating like a pig. Just then I thought it would be fun to go wallow in the mud for a bit. Maybe the mucky goodness would soothe me to sleep. I took a black sharpie and gleefully scribbled out my parents’ message. I wrote my own for Jason on the back. I tapped it to the front door so he would know to come on in.

I descended down another flight of stairs and walked by a few doors until I reached the theatre room. I plunked on the couch and stared at the wall of movies, trying to decide which one to watch. Jason was amazing, don’t get me wrong. He was willing to drive almost 18 miles to check up on me. There was only one small problem: I didn’t really want to be checked up on. Why would I? Would you want your new boyfriend coming over to ask what’s wrong when the thing wrong was that you couldn’t stop thinking about another boy with deep blue green eyes and midnight black hair you couldn’t remember meeting and may or may not have been in your room in the middle of the night and broke a lamp that became magically unbroken in the morning who may or may not be responsible for the fact that you hadn’t closed your eyes for more than a few seconds at a time over the last 30, or more, hours? No? Well me neither. I would tell him I was fine, give him a kiss to seal the deal, and snuggle with him on the couch while watching a mind numbing action movie.

My eyes picked out a movie from the rest. I smiled. I stood and retrieved the movie. Inception. It wasn’t super actiony like I planned, but it was good for removing any non-movie related conversation from a room. It was exactly what I wanted.

I sat down on the couch and waited for Jason.

Jason was prefect. We once did this thing in school when we were learning about Hitler where we all stood up. My teacher talked about how Hitler planned to kill everyone who didn’t have blonde hair and blue eyes. All of us who didn’t fit the description we supposed to sit down, having effectively died. Jason was the only one who remained standing. Not that having Hitler endorse his perfection was anything to his benefit. But he was perfect, there was no other word to describe him. His perfect smile, his perfect hair, his perfect grade point average; everything about him was perfect. Jason’s beautiful face hovered in my mind. Against my violation, I giggled. He was so completely different from the other boy it was funny. Jason’s blue eyes vs. the deep blue green eyes of the boy that seemed to pull you in and never let go. Jason was tall whereas the boy was only had me by a few inches. Jason’s blonde white hair as opposed to the boy’s jet black hair that looked as soft as the stars. Its black strands were just short enough that they didn’t fall in his eyes. I imagined myself running my fingers through that hair, and I couldn’t suppress a smile . . .

My smile fell instantly. What was I thinking?!

“Cade?”

I spun at Jason’s voice, my face burning bright red. I was extremely grateful for the dim lighting.

“Oh. Jason. Hi.” I felt my face burn brighter.

He didn’t appear to notice my mortification. It was so clichĂ© romance novel of me to not be able to stop thinking about a boy I’d never met. On cue, Jason’s phone started ringing. His ringtone? I Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Michael Bublè. His phone blared, “I know that we could be so amazing.” 

Really?! The universe was totally against me.

Jason ended the call without looking to see who it was. This little omission helped calm me. It was more important to him to be there with me than to be talking to anybody else. He sat down next to me and put his arm around my shoulder. I leaned into him and thought only about him, not about the mysterious wonder boy with the blue green eyes and the jet black hair . . .

I really needed help. But, that’s what Jason was for.

He nudged me. I realized he’d asked me a question.

I took a shot in the dark. “Nothing’s wrong. I was just freaking out over a dream I had.”

“Are you all right now?”

Yes! I’d gotten it right! “I am, now that you’re here.”

I tilted my chin up and gave him a light kiss.

It was obvious from his reaction to the pressure of my lips that he believed every heartfelt lie I’d fed him. I felt a twinge of disappointment. I thought he knew me well enough to see through my straight-forward lies. I guess not.

I pulled away from him and went to turn on the movie.

We hadn’t been very close the last few months, I was sure that in no time he would understand me like he used to.

I took my seat and curled into his side as the opening scene started. His breath tickled my ear. “At least you were able to get some sleep, even if it wasn’t super restful.”

I forced myself not to be irritated. I was the one who’d lied, I couldn’t be mad at him because I was so good at it. I really just wanted to go to sleep.

I couldn’t.

Don’t doubt that I didn’t try. My place at Jason’s side wasn’t a comfortable as I thought it would be. It was almost like we were to puzzle pieces that didn’t quite fit together right. That probably wasn’t the only reason I couldn’t sleep, but it’s what I chose to blame. I did not do well without sleep. People tended to walk the other way when they saw me coming. What can I say? I have a powerful personality.

After the movie he stayed and we talked until he had to leave to help his mom with dinner. We talked about nothing. I don’t think he noticed. To me the conversation felt forced. I was sorry to say that I was happy when it was finally time for him to leave. I needed time to be by myself. I needed to sleep.

My eyes squeezed shut as I tried to restrain the tears. What was wrong with me?

My parents came home as the sun left. I was sitting on the bench swing on the back porch drinking hot chocolate. It started to get cold, but I didn’t have enough energy to go inside and grab a blanket. I clutched my chocolate closer to me and attempted to absorb the heat.

“Honey, what are you doing out here?”

I didn’t turn at the sound of my mother’s voice, but continued to gaze at the stars. They twinkled at me their hello. Sitting out here was like being in my room without the scary flashes of memories that didn’t exist. “Just looking.”

Out of the corner of my eye I saw her shake her head in wonder at me. “Come inside, dear. You don’t want to catch a cold before your birthday.” She extended her hand to help me up.

I took it gratefully. I leaned on her heavily the whole way back into the house, only making it as far as the kitchen table before I had to stop and rest. My mom looked worried.

“Why are you so tired? Haven’t you been sleeping?”

Slowly, I shook my head.

She felt my forehead like any good mother. “You don’t feel hot. Do you have something on your mind?”

I rested my head on the cool table and breathed slowly. “I’m sure I’ll be fine tonight.”

She relaxed at my words. “You should go to bed now. Get as much sleep as possible.

I nodded. She helped me the rest of the way up to my bedroom. I collapsed on my bed and she closed the door softy, blocking out the light from the rest of the house. When she was gone I closed my eyes. They didn’t open for the rest of the night.

* * * * *

Kaman fazed into existence. The boy saw him instantly and stopped his relentless pacing. Both had anxious looks in their eyes.

The boy went to speak, but Kaman interrupted.

“Dude, you need to stop taking that Lunexor immediately. It’s supposed to be super addictive and—”

The boy cut him off. “Kaman!”

The seriousness that Kaman saw in the boy’s eyes stopped him midsentence.

“Something is seriously wrong.”

Kaman’s eyes immediately drifted to the crumbling wall.

The boy hissed. “Not that!” He seemed reluctant to continue, then forced himself forward. “It’s me. I can’t wake up.”

Kaman’s eyes clouded. “What?”

The boy gritted his teeth. “I haven’t woken up since I saw you here yesterday!”

Kaman sat in stunned silence. Then he couldn’t stop talking. “I told you to be careful! You were drinking, weren’t you! Dang it, Ashton! You know we can’t afford to lose you to.”The boy voice was quiet. “What did you call me?”

“Sorry. I meant Niewit.” He didn’t sound very apologetic. “What are we going to do? Did you tell Nayloni?”

The boy shook his head. “I couldn’t. I can’t disappoint her.”

Kaman turned away and took a deep breath, calming himself. He turned back to the boy. “Kiewit, brother, what do you want me to do?”

The boy smiled his gratitude. “Can you call my parents? They’ll take me to the hospital.”

Kaman nodded. “Should I memorize the number or skinprint it? I think we should skinprint, just in case."

The boy stepped forward to Kaman’s outstretched arm. He picked up one of the sharp rocks. He scratched the number into the soft skin.

They smiled at each other weakly. Kaman faded away.

* * * * *

When the early morning light seeped in through my blinds, my eyes cracked open. I hadn’t slept a wink.

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