It had been days. No, hours. No…
My eyes jolted open. Was I asleep? I don’t think so, my eyes were beating down on my lids. That doesn’t make sense. I feel horrible, though definitely awake. I started writing again, scribbling on the papers in front of me. The sound of graphite coarsely grating on my notebook was satisfying; it kept my mind working.
There was a banging on the door. I had forgotten about the door. God, I hoped that they’d stop trying to reach me. I didn’t have time for this. The knocking eventually halted, and I got back to work and glanced over at the clock. 7 p.m., it said. Hannah came home around this time with the kids. How dearly she would kiss my forehead every evening. The pitter of footsteps meant she was elated to see me—she usually was, at least. I always was.
My eyes jolted open. Was I… No this already happened. 7:10 p.m., it said. It occurred to me how quickly my thoughts were flipping through my mind. I started writing again, more attentively this time. That mirror across from my desk was really a terrible placement. Everyone knows how distracting it is to sit in front of a mirror. It’s impossible to focus. I’ll add it to the checklist of things I have to do, right under finishing my book. Was this even a book I was writing? Hannah always told me to clear my mind—she would know the right words to remedy this dilemma. She and the kids once made me a tiny scrapbook, and when I say tiny, I mean pocket-size. The purpose was to keep it with me at all times, to remember who held my heart. They really did—I love them so much. It rips me apart. A teardrop splashed down and melted some of the words I had written. Hannah chose me to be hers, her love.
I couldn’t reconcile anything anymore. How long had I been awake? I thought about calling Hannah, but that wouldn’t make sense. I started seeing colors, yellow, red, blue. Reminded me of the 4th of July, wished Hannah could see this. I considered going to sleep at last, but those words they said to me echoed: “The more sleep deprived you are, the stronger you become.” I had to believe them, the last voices I had heard before this silence. I think I will call Hannah, maybe speak to the kids.
The banging started again on the door. Why won’t they let me call Hannah? I stood up and looked down at my Adidas; I wondered if anyone ever washes shoes. Perhaps I should since these are mostly white… except for that. What is that? I stared vacantly at the splotches on the leather. They matched those lights in my periphery. Red is a lovely color—Hannah’s favorite, too. I thought about when those marks were still the original bright, glistening shade. Pretty.
They came in the room without knocking this time, took my papers, and left. Alone at last. Wonder if I can call… Oh right, I can’t. My reflection smirked back at me; that was the point. Got sick of her. That guard who took my papers glared at me with satisfaction, deluding himself that sleep deprivation just gave him the statement he wants. I guess they were right though, I do feel stronger. Our little secret.