I hear footsteps and my heart pounds. I open my eyes and stare at the ceiling, concentrating on the sound of soft slippers slowly walking away. I dare to sit up and my door is open just an inch more than it was before I fell asleep. Sweat starts to pour down my forehead and I try and remember if I had locked my front door properly. I did, I didn’t, I’m sure I did, I always check all doors and windows at nine pm, but did I get a phone call – what’s that? My train of thoughts derails, the track disappeared and now all I can see is the shadow of a person standing outside my room.
“Are you awake?” someone asks and the fake concern, the imitated normalcy of the tone catches me off-guard. Chills creep up my spine as the person just walks into my room, peering into the dark.
Maybe if I pretend I’m asleep…but I’m sitting up…who is this? Who took away the dagger I keep under my pillow, my hand searches in vain for the comfort of a sharp edge.
“Mirrah? Hey, are you okay?”
I nearly choke, unable to move. The person knows my name. “No…” I manage to gasp, and then louder: “Get away from me! Who are you!?”
The person switches the light on, bathing my room in bright, white-blue light. I blink, look around the eerily neat, comforting blue and lime green sheets, a symmetrical painting hangs right above my head. My knuckles are white, my throat is dry and my heart is trying to pound its way out.
“Did you take your pills, Mirrah?” the person with the concerned voice puts her head to one side and looks at me carefully. “Mirrah? Did you take your pink pills?”
Today, I woke up and it was still dark outside. The sky was hanging low with the weight of the wet clouds, and the carpet of crunchy yellow leaves on the sidewalk was soppy, sad, hiding sticky patches of mulch just for me to step on in my rain bootless feet. Today we watched a documentary on mentally ill people being detained in prisons and so today, I thought of what it would feel like to be a paranoid schizophrenic. To always be scared, on edge, like someone was hiding in the shadows, laying out invisible bear traps or holding up a taser to your brain whenever you dared close your eyes.
You would never be able to play human dominoes – just crossing your arms and falling backwards into the arms of a friend or a stranger. You could never walk on the street listening to your Ipod because you’d feel like somebody would sneak up on you. You’d never be able to close your eyes when you kissed. You’d always have worms of insecurity and fear crawling in your heart, swimming in your blood stream, tickling the edge of your skin. No blanket would be soft enough, no arms warm enough for you to fall asleep in.
Speaking of physical comfort, I miss mine. I miss putting my head in my mom’s lap when she’s sitting on the jai-namaz, I miss leaning into you and feeling your hand on my face. I even miss having my cheeks pulled. I definitely miss my slumber parties with the girls and just making human pyramids or lying in connected shapes to watch a movie or pictures from the past. I miss hugging the kids, my sisters. Sigh.
I woke up today and the sky was so gray I had to turn on my lamp. But I had all my mental (mostly) faculties in control and arms and legs and eyelashes too, so I decided not to be too mopey. At least I’m not incarcerated in a tiny room with a hundred different people in my mind, driving me insane(r).