“What the fuck are you doing here?”
I must have blacked out or something. I guess not completely out of character but when I came to I was standing in the middle of a hollowed out tree and it was dark and freezing. I shivered and wrapped my arms around my body feeling bare skin, wondering why I didn’t have a jacket.
“Are you gonna answer me, what the fuck are you doing here?”
Her voice startled me and I squinted my eyes trying to make sense of the dark figure plastered up against the other side of the tree. I felt as though my thoughts were being run through thick glue and when they finally began to thin out, I gasped.
I recognized her voice and my eyes immediately filled with tears and I could feel that familiar stress and tightening in my throat. I hadn’t felt that feeling since I was a teenager. I reached my hand up to my neck and began to massage it lightly.
I shivered again this time not from the cold surrounding me, but from the cold creeping inside of my body.
She laughed sarcastically and shifted her feet against the dirt, creating a cavernous echo. “Just fuckin’ run like you always do.” Her voice was deep and convincing.
She stepped closer to me and my eyes began to adjust. She had on the same clothes as the last time I saw her. A blue zip up sweater with two stars on the front, baggy jeans that her frail frame was swimming in and converse shoes. My body froze in complete horror and my fingers began to curl inwards tight and painful.
She took another step closer and I could see her familiar face. Her detached, torpid eyes staring straight into mine. Nothing. All signs of life were long gone, her spirit fled and old cigarette burns punctured through where her broken heart used to subsist.
It felt like every piece of my insides were being strangled and I thought to myself that this must be what it feels like right when you get tased or have a seizure.
I thought to myself that I’d felt this feeling before.
WE’VE felt this feeling before.
Her eyebrows slightly lifted to my thought, our thought and she nodded at me.
I closed my soaked eyes and began to count my breath, four seconds in and four seconds out.
Memory. Body shaking.
Memory. Body tightening.
Memory. Throat closing.
Memory. Deep fucking breaths.
Eyes, still closed, I cleared my throat and my voice trembled, “I wasn’t expecting you.”
She grabbed both of my frozen arms tightly and my eyes shot open to meet hers.
“Of course you weren’t expecting me, your usually too busy trying to play with that feral child.”
The swallow of my spit reverberated against the walls of the hollow tree and I began to count my breathe again.
Four seconds in, four seconds out.