Sometimes, you can't sleep. Sometimes, you can't wake up. Sometimes, it's a little of both.

"Mother!" called Andy from her bedroom. Soft music floated through her room, painting it in shades of coppery gold and gentle lilac.

"Yes, dear?" responded her mother.

"Can I have the white noise machine?" Her mother was silent. There was not answer, but Andy heard the thunk of the machine being set outside her closed door, and the click as it turned on.The noise flooded her vision, filling her room with cotton balls and ash, hiding the kaleidoscope of colors splayed across her ceiling beneath a blanket of white.

"Thank you," she whispered to nobody in particular, but still feverishly hoping that somebody heard. She closed her eyes and tried to sleep, but the clock wouldn't let her. She flipped to her side in an attempt to hide from it, but it followed her. Now, she just watched the clock, watched the hands click and slide from the 12 to the 11 instead of the 11 to the 12.

"Andy, you're going to be late!" screamed a frantic voice that Andy recognized as her mother's. Sunlight filtered through the windows and illuminated her room. Her door was open, and the white noise machine was gone. Andy rubbed her eyes and sat up. The clock read 7:00 AM, Tuesday, Feb. 23.

"Andy, hurry up!" called a new voice.

"Dad?" called Andy. Confusion, sunny and yellow, rushed across her vision.

"Yes honey. Now hurry up, the bus comes in 30 minutes." Andy heard his footsteps cascade down the stairs. Then, she realized the lilting melody that had been tumbling through her head and dancing across her vision for 3 years was gone.She stood and opened the door, vaguely registering a blurred T-shirt and foggy jeans. Andy smelled the thick, sugary scent of pancakes on the table as she entered her dining room.

"Mom?" she asked. Her mom was sitting on the couch, watching TV and eating cereal.

"Hello, Andy." She smiled and continued to eat her cereal. "You're up early today," she remarked.

"Well, yeah," Andy said, turning to face her mother. "You called me down for school." Andy's mother turned and stared at her.

"What are you talking about, honey?" Confusion shadowed her mother's eyes. "It's Saturday."

"Mom!" Andy screamed as she bolted upright in bed. She looked around. The music was back, creeping in and seeping out cracks in her composure, dripping on the floor around her like blood.

"Don't do that Andy," called an unfamiliar voice. "You'll scare Josie."

"Who's Josie?" Andy asks. The voice attempts to turn and stare at her, but the face its connected to seems to blur and float away.

"Your little sister." She rubs her eyes and then its just the clock, staring on the wall and set to 3:00 AM. There were colors floating through the window again, but they weren't gentle or pretty like last time.

"Get up. Time for school," said Andy's mother. Andy's eyes flickered open, again. The music was a rocking, jabbing melody. It cut her in places she didn't know could hurt, and moved her to her feet. Her hands seemed to float in another mind, like she was watching herself move through another's eyes. Her mother was walking away, stepping even where there was no ground. Andy watched as the sun rose behind her, splattering the sky with rose petals and mint leaves. The light reflected of the colors dancing across her vision and the noises in her head, soothing them and quieting them.

"Just go to sleep, Andy." her old therapist's voice floated through her head, comforting voice reminiscent of lemons and warm summer breezes. She closed her eyes and sat against her bed, letting the music fade to a quiet buzz that brought a tide of black through her vision, cascading over her and towing a rush of exhaustion along with it. Her eyes flickered shut, colors enveloping her in warm shades of autumn and cinnamon. She wrapped herself in the colors of spring and found a cocoon of nothing, a place to sleep undisturbed-a place to, finally, sleep in silence.

February 23, 2020 12:53

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