Me To Myself

Submitted into Contest #76 in response to: Write a story told exclusively through dialogue.... view prompt

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Sad Teens & Young Adult Latinx

“What was that dream?”

“…”

“…”

“Daylight behind my eyelids. I have to get up.”

“I don’t want to open my eyes.”

“I have to.”

“I can’t move.”

“I have to get up.”

“I can’t. It’s cold out there, and it hurts, and I can’t move.”

“…”

“…”

“… The dream is leaving. Yesterday is catching up.”

“No. No thinking. I can catch the tail of the dream if I sink back in.”

“Too late.”

“…”

“…”

“No!”

“I remember the dream.”

“No, no, no, I’ve lost it, it’s gone, I can’t pick up where it left off—”

“I have to get up. I have to move.”

“— and I can’t see her. This is the only way I can see her again. I don’t know if I want to or not. It hurts either way.”

“Yesterday happened. Today has to happen too.”

“Not if I don’t let it. I won’t let it, and it can’t hurt me.”

“Imagine how worthless I’ll feel after I spend all day in bed. Being useless. Contributing nothing.”

“Tomorrow won’t happen either, then. Nothing has to hurt me.”

“It doesn’t have to, but it will.”

“I can’t move. Not a finger, not an eyelid, not a twitch of a toe, I can’t.”

“I’m breathing. I can move the rest of me if I try.”

“I’m afraid.”

“I’m breathing.”

“Be quiet. Just let me sleep. Please.”

“It’s too late. I can’t go back. I have to move.”

“Just let me lie here. I don’t have to dream. I have my thoughts. I can think about—”

“Yesterday?”

“No. Yesterday never happened. If I don’t think about it, it won’t exist.”

“But it’s right there, sitting on the edge of my bed, leaning over me. I can feel its breath make my hair tremble.”

“No one’s there. I’m alone. I’m warm and safe. It’s going to be okay.”

“I can never escape Yesterday. I can stay here until I crumble away, or I can run until my legs snap, and it will always have happened.”

“It’s going to be okay. I’ll be fine. I have people I love. People that care.”

“And people that don’t, and Yesterday.”

“I don’t need to think about that.”

“But I’ll always have them. They’ll always be in and out of my head, clinging to me like a wet mold. The people that don’t care, Yesterday, and the funeral.”

“Stop thinking about that!”

“I can’t! It won’t let me go!”

I’m the one that has to let go!”

“I can’t! I’m barely hanging on — I’ll fall!”

“I’m scared.”

“Why am I always full of excuses? How can anyone stand me?”

“I’m always scared.”

“Is everyone I know lying to me?”

“They love me, I know it—!”

“Then why do I always feel alone around them? And how could they tolerate being around me without faking it? Aren’t I just terrible?”

“I don’t have to think about this. I can go back to the dream.”

“It’s dead.”

“I know.”

“Why can’t be dead?”

“…”

“…”

“I could see my mom again if I were dead.”

“…”

“…”

“She wouldn’t be happy to see me so soon.”

“I’m being stupid.”

“It hurts to miss her. To keep loving her. But I can’t stop myself from doing either.”

“I don’t want to stop.”

“I need to get up. I need to move. But I can’t.”

“She would want me to. But does that even matter anymore? Does it matter what the dead want?”

“She told me something in the dream, but I don’t remember what it was…”

“I don’t really matter myself, do I? I can want my mom alive for the rest of my life. It wouldn’t matter. She’ll never come back.”

“Except in dreams.”

“Will I see her again tonight? Do I want to? Do I really want to hurt myself like this? Again?”

“Life is suffering. I guess I’m alive.”

“If life is suffering, is death just… not?”

“Right now she’s lying down in the dark with her eyes closed, hands at her sides, death stasis pulling the corners of her lips into a smile I’ve never seen from her. It was too calm a smile. Her smile was never calm. It laughed without sound, glowed without light, put a candle to the wax of your heart. Its ghost kills me every time I reshape it in the eye of my mind.”

“I’m lying in the same way. We’re together like this, aren’t we? Me and my mom?”

“I have never been so far from her in my life.”

“Why do they keep saying that? ‘I’m sorry for your loss.’ I didn’t lose her.”

“I lost so many shoes when I was little. She always laughed about how there were tiny shoes scattered throughout preschool grounds. Like Easter eggs, she said.”

“I didn’t lose her. I’m the one that got lost. I know where I am, on this Earth, but God — I don’t know where I am.

“I got lost a lot, too. She said I tried to get to the school gate by myself, once, so she could pick me up. But I wound up trapped in a loop of unfamiliar rooms, and I sat myself down and started bawling.”

“She found me there. Can she find me again, this time?”

“I don’t think she can.”

“She held my hand and led me through childhood and adolescence, nudged me into the onset of adulthood…”

“I can’t get up.”

“Her hands were cold.”

“I can’t move. I’m lost.”

“Her grip was strong. She was always strong. She stood invulnerable in the face of my temper tantrums, crushed my vices under her bare heels like they were baby vipers. She stood mighty in the face of prejudice, cunning in the face of cruelty, fearsome with no threat of violence, gentle as a nun and fierce as a warrior.”

“Mom, you’ve given me everything you had to give. I can’t ask you for your strength.”

“She was a survivor. She worked her fingers to ashes and clawed herself to the stars. I used to think she thought I was soft and weak because I didn’t suffer as much as she did. But it was for me. She didn’t want her child to suffer, so she suffered in their place.

“I think I am weak. I don’t know if I can contend with that. A part of me doesn’t want to know. I’m afraid to find out.”

“Afraid to move. Afraid to rise. Afraid to live. Living is the hardest thing you can ask of me. Of anyone.”

“I’m already so, so lost. I don’t know where to begin. I can’t even imagine getting up and living a day where she isn’t alive. Where her smile is gone.”

“No. Not completely. I still have her smile. No one can take that from me.”

“…”

“…”

“I think I have to go and be alive now.”

“But I don’t feel strong enough for that.”

“I have to be.”

“…”

“…”

“What time is it?”

“…”

“How am I up so early?”

“…”

“…”

“It’s a beautiful day.”

January 14, 2021 23:05

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