>When I’d gone to sleep, one of the lights was still on. The music was still playing. There were people in the other room talking.
I don’t know how I woke up. It was the toffee wrappers and those shiny gift wrapping papers that crumpled and crinkled and made noises, like sharp nails clawing at your walls. Sleep still weighed heavy on my eyelids. But my ears refused to resort to selective hearing.
The room seemed too well lit for my liking. There’s no way to find out the time of the day by looking out of the window. The only light bulb in the room was working furiously. Even with all that light, it took me some time to realize someone else was there in the room. And he was sitting there on my bed.
I thought he had left. I didn’t want to tell him how happy or angry I was. I didn’t know which one it was. I didn’t want to look at him and I certainly didn’t want to talk. All I wanted to do was return.
“You have to wake up”, he said.
I remained silent. The smoke was making me nauseous. I didn’t know where it was coming from.
“You won’t understand till you wake up and see. There’s light now, you can see”
I had no idea what he was talking about. I was up and awake, staring at him with all the hatred I could muster.
“I won’t let you go that easily. You have to wake up and fight.”
He seemed to be talking on and on. I was losing my patience. But I still didn’t want to talk. I stared around the room. The walls had aged, with scars and breaks. The wine stains on the floor had gone from red to being a murky grey. People outside in the other rooms were not talking any more. They were shouting and screaming.
“You shouldn’t have done it. It was my fault. No, it was all your fault too.”
That crackling sound was beginning to irritate me. I wanted to smother all the voices. The noise increased. There were birds chirping, cars reversing with their annoying tunes and children yelling out to each other. I wished the windows were shut, the light was hurting my eyes. The burning in my eyes reached a peak. It might have appeared as if I was crying.
I closed my eyes. It felt as if a cold blanket had been laid upon them. I was fully clothed and yet it felt as if I was lying naked on bitter hard ice. The cold reached my bones and made them ache in protest.
The door opened and a chilling draft made its way in. And someone else came in too. This was the last thing I wanted to see. I never ever wanted to see her. No matter what. Not here, not in my own house. Everything here was mine, yet these estranged invaders refused to accept that and leave me alone. She was going to take him away. I was partly relieved, partly sad.
“We have to go”, she said.
He nodded. He looked at me, but I had turned my face away. There was nothing to be said. At this point, it didn’t matter what I wanted. I had to do what my mind commanded. To return.
“Will you wait?” he asked before he got up to leave.
I was bewildered at that question. What for I wondered. I wanted to ask him if he would. But before I could speak, there was a sharp jab on my arm. The frigid metal point pierced my skin,diving into my blood. Machines around me started whirring. There was a strange fear about them. I began to cry. I didn’t want to return, I wanted this to stop. The pain was paralyzing me. They all fell silent around me, as if in mourning. I broke into a sweat. There was winter without and yet my nerves were on fire within.
I could see everything inside my head. All those times, all those places and people. Lights and corners, chatter and talk, smoke and clouds, smells and shivers, traffic and colors, rain showers and breezes, puddles and pools, shoes and watches. There was a jumble in my head. They rushed in and out, as if in a big hurry to escape. I realized I must be in a dream. Reality can be distorted to such an extent only in dreams.
But no one was waking me up from this dream. They all seemed to have left me alone, finally.