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Seven minutes until midnight. The little neon green LED dots on my digital alarm clock flicker at me, as though slowing down from my near somnambulist glare, the numbers dim and grouchy from the dying battery. The makeshift ticks cackle through the thick air of the spare bedroom, setting the nerve-ends in my temples to dance in a soft, embedding fury of hands beating at tambourines or any other sorts of irritating instruments. 

I watch her face through the semi-recorded memory, craning my neck and twisting my head back as though watching a strip of film against the sun. Thin black lines hover above the veins of her eyelids, sending a sickening glow up into the whites of her eyes as she glances at the window, hands in her lap, fingers examining the structure of other fingers, careful and delicate in the pale light streaming in through the open blinds. 

My baby girl.

The bed creaks underneath me as I sit up. What others deem annoying feels comforting to me as I close my eyes, aware of the bones in my hips, my legs, my behind as I fidget about in an attempt to wake the rest of my body up, a hint of a smile curling at my lips as the bed springs squeak from the weight of my upright body. Running my hands through my hair I place my feet on the carpet, carefully stretching my legs out as I stand up, my joints popping and crackling from their morning thaw. The blinds are still half open from my peeking through them into the darkening alley.

The automatic lights of the hallway catch my eyes off guard, leaving me blinded as I tiptoe my way towards the bathroom. I hold my hand to the wallpaper for not as much for support but more for a sense of where I am situated in the slightly maze-like apartment. The fancy golden curls stand out from the brown background and I brush my fingertips along them while feeling around the floor with my tired feet. I flinch as my fingertips hit the doorframe, curling them over the cold wood as I stand still to glance at the closed door diagonally to my left.

My baby girl…

My corneas surrender to the electric surge of my memory, blinding yet translucent as they take me on a tour through the green-walled corridors smelling of disinfecting soap and something powdery, like talc or sodium carbonate, floating in the air in small white particles, swimming through my nostrils, getting stuck on tiny hairs, irritating me, distracting me—

I want to open the door and go in, but I know everything has been changed, tidied up, torn down, re-arranged, painted, re-applied, taken out, pulled down. It wouldn’t be what I needed. The silence will still be there. The room will look perfect and smell nice. Is it wrong of me to want it to be the way it was, when everything happened? Is it wrong that I want to toss myself into the unmade bed and bathe myself in the scent that used to curl up in my lap with mismatched pajamas on? 

I hit my toe on the threshold as I try and push myself into the bathroom, backing my way to the edge of the tub until I feel it against my bones, reassuring me of a safe landing. I smile to myself as I see a ball of blonde hair glued to the left side of the drain. 

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Dafeenah challenged me with ”a worried man, a shattered existence” and I challenged alyssagoesbang with ”all silly turtles crawl”.

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