He blinked once.

His breath hitched and panic seductively lapped at the edge of his consciousness like gentle waves on a sandy beach, inviting him in. He blinked and drew another deep breath though it couldn’t quite fill his lungs, scrambling for a grip of time and space, desperately pulling away from the grey, seemingly endless expanse between sleep and waking.

Blink again. Breathe again. Focus. Why was he trembling? He gingerly tried moving his fingers, failed, breathed, tried again. When they finally decided to obey, he lifted his hand to his face, pressing the palm to his eyes, rubbing the sleep away and willing himself to inhale and exhale more steadily.

Then he remembered.

It was a dream, wasn’t it? Yes, that’s what it was. He was standing on the broad, crowded sidewalk with motorcycles and cars and people passing by. In the midst of all the traffic and the sounds and the smells he was talking to a faceless, nameless somebody, telling a story when a conscious thought intruded; a voice of reason slipping in where it didn’t belong. He was telling the story, elaborating details when…

“But that’s another dream. It isn’t real. What you’re saying isn’t real.”

And that voice jarred him awake, staring at the grey wall as his breath caught in his chest. And for a heartbeat he was stuck in the dream and back in his room and reliving the dream-story all at the same time.

“Can’t you tell which is real and which is not anymore?”

And then the trembling had started.

He tried sitting up, failed, breathed, tried again, couldn’t and settled with turning slightly and lying on his back instead, furrowing his brows and squinting at the ceiling, torn between wanting to dwell on his thoughts and pushing them out of his mind. It felt like he was breaking out of his skin, tearing apart at the seams. The threads holding his existence together worn thin and frayed, barely containing the psychosis within.

Lips quirking at his dramatic thoughts, he contemplated the approach of early morning hysteria. How bad is it, insanity? How much of you is left after you step over that boundary and let yourself fall over the edge?

“Someday I’m not going to be here anymore, and you might not be able to turn back or you might not want to. Someday you might just find out.”

Glancing at the window, he tried figuring out what time it was from how the light made the yellow curtain glow and sighed. The blue-grey tinge told him it was early, and yet he couldn’t shake the feeling he’d woken up too late though he hadn’t the faintest idea for what exactly.

Another morning, another shot at sanity.

“My life is like, so mundane. The days come, the days go. I keep waiting, waiting, waiting, but for what? I go to work, I eat, I work out, I watch television. I’m not really depressed. Well, yes I guess I am depressed. I’m lonely. I’m easily irritated. But it’s not the kind of overwhelming depression that feels like it’s ripping me apart. It’s more of a blandness, an overall numbness, like every fiber of my being is sucked dry of any coherent reason to exist.”

Your Mother’s Butt – a one act play by Alan Ball


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