When I came to on the bench, it was like I had the flu. Throat was all dry and sore. I had no clue what time it was, but day was here. My mind scrambled with a new alertness. That was the best sleep I have had in weeks. All the details of my life came rolling back in. I began to panic.
I jogged back home. The whole time my mind was just running. What if my wife was late for work? Where had that old lady gone, and why did she have so much information about what was happening? What if it was true? Was I safe over there?
Too out of breath to even yell I burst in the front of the house and was greeted by a humid silence? Had everyone left? The awful image of Cassandra sitting at my kitchen table, drinking my coffee stopped me in the basement. Or would she be hiding in the office? Now that I thought about it I had never seen her upstairs. I ran upstairs and heard my wife in the bathroom. She was pulling her hair into a pony tail and looked especially mature and put together in her work clothes. “Good morning,” she greeted me, rested.
It was so casual, so normal. I tried to say something but I couldn’t. There was so much to tell her, so much to explain, but how did I start. Hi honey, spent the early morning running around the neighborhood. May have met an angel. Life may be in jeopardy, wrestling with imaginary monsters. Sort of a big deal.
Instead I smiled and got a glass of water. “Everything all right?” She called from the bathroom.
“Fine,” I said. I took another big drink.
“You were up early huh? You working on some writing?”
My cackling laughter response startled her. “You sure you’re okay?” She poked her head around the corner, drying her hands.
“Yeah, of course,” I lied.
Now the careful, and perhaps the courageous hearted reader, may wonder why I didn’t just lay it all out. As I have mentioned perviously, I have tried and the outcome was negative; the nature of the issue makes it a difficult situation to understand.
Perhaps a little more detail on my wife and family would help you to understand. My wife works as a health counselor for people with diabetes and other illness. I am the stay-at-home Dad of three children. This adds another layer of pressure. I feel silly bringing up my imaginary problems to her, right before she is off to go help people with real, life threatening problems. Calm and patience are required for her to do her job, so I don’t want to unnecessarily worry her, especially when she was right about to head out.
I was so panicked though. Just with her looking at me, my hands began to shake. “You sure?” She asked again. “What were you doing up so early? Writing? Reading?”
I shook my head yes, suppressing the manic laughter, which budged in my throat and chest.
“Okay,” she said, “are you sure though, cause something seems off? Were you outside?”
I couldn’t figure out what to do. What would you have done? I should have told her everything, told her to call the day off too. My fear kept me from that. If I told her the truth. She would have me in bed and sleeping before noon. I needed some time, or something to get a hold of what was going on here. “Fresh air,” I said.
“Fresh air?” She asked. “It’s like ninety degrees out there already?”
“Yep,” I said, turning my back on her. I poured another glass, but my shaky hands betrayed me.
“Austin, come on, you’re all freaked out, what’s going on?”
“It’s her,” I said.
“Her?” There was an edge to her question. “Are you fucking around on me or something?”
I spit my water out. “No. Of course not, I’m talking about the muse-thing.”
“Oh that weird shit, honey I don’t got time for that this morning. I got an early appoint.” That meant she had to be to work at seven. I looked at the clock it was 6:42. “I don’t know what’s going on with you all right. Most stuff you go through, I just got to sort of accept.”
“I know,” I said, “but its getting serious. I think I might be in real trouble?”
“Real trouble? With what? They’re dreams hun; that’s it. You got a powerful imagination; that’s it. Freddy Krueger ain’t real.”
I love my wife. She is the solvent to my acidity, but her refusal to get on board was not helping me. She stared at me as I tried to get a sentence out. My two year old came out of his room, rubbing his eyes. She kneeled down and gave him a hug. “Just make it through the day all right. I’ll try to get you a good break tonight. Maybe give you a good back rub or something to help you get a good night’s rest, all right?”
Somehow I said of course, and she was off. It was Dad time. Breakfast, eggs, toast. Changing diapers, another walk, toy time, lunch, nap time. I collapsed on the couch as my oldest son took a turn on the DS.
Everything was so goddamned suburban. I could barely remember everything that happened the night before. The Cabin. The tablet. Pete. The fight. It all seemed so much made up bullshit. As the fan blew on me, I decided to lay down. I started to doze off, lulled by the sound of buttons being pushed and my son’s focused breathing.
I was almost out and I sat up with a jolt. I was still so tired though, foggy, my mind scrambled for a solution. I had an idea. Sluggishly I reasoned, hold something and then dangle my hand over the couch, and then if I feel asleep I would drop the object and wake up. Maybe this would allow me a little nap-bump too. Get me over my sleepiness and then maybe I wouldn’t fall into a deep sleep that night. What to grab?
Obviously things like knives were out, too much potential injury. Something like a fork worried me because I didn’t think it would make that much noise. I decided on this smallish hammer, which is good for hanging pictures and things.
“What are you doing?” My son asked, as I settled in flat on the couch with my left arm holding the small hammer above my head, hanging off the arm rest.
“Nothing,” I tell him. I realized I shouldn’t even be trying this, but I’m so tired, and the house is so peaceful and calm…