By, Esmee

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          The words, they rang very brightly in my ears.

          "I'm getting married."

          I sat stunned, along with the other people in the room, for a moment or two just letting the phrase sink in to my psyche. I can now see the entwined fingers and glances secreted at each other.

          "We're getting married."

          There began a muted din ringing in my ears: fuzzy and soft. The words reverberate deep in my inner ear, skittering around in my skull and sinking into the marrow of my bones, making me feel a queer, dull ache.

          "I don't think I have ever felt happier."

          I felt hysterical laughter bubble up in my chest.

          "I love him."

          I felt the other people around me stir and start to move at an almost sub-molecular level.

          "I want you to be happy for me."

          I somehow found myself crowding with the rest of them to give my congratulations. There was a brief flash of amber eyes, an impression of soft vanilla scented skin and hair, a momentary glimpse of a quizzical smile and then I was replaced by the next person in line eager to give their good wishes and cheer. I think I said, 'I'm glad for you.'

          "Thank you"

          I think I felt dizzy, so I sat down. I remember someone coming over to me and asking in a concerned, though preoccupied, voice if I were all right. I was crying. I raised my hands to my face to wipe away the tears I now felt there very keenly, and mumbled something about always crying at weddings. A laugh. It wasn't the wedding yet. This sparked a faint ember of resentment in me and I replied, rather weakly I think, that wasn't I silly then. The room became fuzzy, and faded.

          A dream. Again.

          I lay still in the sweaty tangle of sheets on my bed, staring at nothing in particular. I stayed like that for a few more minutes. Then I swung my legs over the sides of my bed and got up, tucking a few vagrant strands of hair behind my ear and stumbled to the bathroom.

          In the bathroom I fumbled for the sleeping pills I've needed to get to sleep with for the past few weeks. I blinked in bleary disgust at the blurry, sleep haggard vision of myself I saw in the oval mirror above the sink. My tired fingers felt like clumsy wooden blocks as they struggled with the lid, conveniently child-proofed.

          "Damned lid." I muttered in weary frustration as I failed for the fourth time to open the stupid thing. Then a sudden wave of rage rolled over me and I lobbed the small, mocking white and red plastic container at the wall viciously, causing a loud crashing sound. I started violently and sank, shaking, against the far wall. I expected at any moment to hear my roommate Hikari's voice call out with sleepy concern and exasperation to see what had happened this time. No voice came, she didn't wake.

          I curled into a tight ball, not knowing what was going on and truly afraid of the sudden, aggressive mood swings I had been subjected to for the past few weeks. They had started about the same that Mimi had announced her engagement, the logical portion of my mind pointed out. I told it to shut the hell up. It had nothing to do with that, I told myself fiercely; she's my best friend, almost like my sister really, and I am happy for her.

          I pushed myself up from the floor; I staggered slightly and leaned against the cool drywall for support for a moment. The air in the bathroom was chill and dry, producing gooseflesh on my bare forearms and raising the short, fine hairs on the back on my neck. The tiled floor cold and smooth on the thick, roughened skin of my feet. My nightshirt hung loosely about my small frame, the back stuck to me with now chilled sweat. I padded over to the forlorn looking Tylenol jar, acutely aware for some reason, of the air as it slid around my bare legs in icy currents. I replaced the jar on the frosted glass ledge, next to the toothbrushes and floss, and glanced in the mirror.

          My image was no more than a pale smudge in the glass of the mirror without my glasses. My back itched where my braid hung between my shoulder blades. I wearily rubbed my eyes, only slightly improving my vision. I am happy for her, I told myself again for what seemed the thousandth time in the past few weeks. I am happy. I reached out and gently brush my fingertips over my cheeks in the mirror.

          "So if I'm happy," I whispered to myself, "then why am I crying?"

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A/N: not much to say about this, just a short character piece really. Can anyone guess who the narrator is? I've added lots of hints in the story, so reread it if you want to find out who the narrator is.