N.B. The shifting of tense is (pardon the pun) in-tense-ional.
~~~~ At first, there were bright sounds and loud colors. The world was a kaleidoscope, and then some fiendish hand grabbed the kaleidoscope and gave it a good shake and all the thoughts in my head rattled around and melted violently into and through one another.
Where is Scully? Where am I? What am I? I? Scully? There is no Scully. There is no you or me or nurse, only Someones, indistinguishable from one another. No past, no future. Here, where we are all out of time, pain is the universal invariant. It is snowing under my skin and the snowing becomes sand becomes sweat becomes screaming screaming screaming and I have ripped myself inside.
Someone says breathe.
Someone screaming. Someone squeezing a hand. Someone giving demerol. Someone asking is he awake? Someone answering yes. Someone taking blood pressure.
Well well well. Fuck me sideways if I'm not in the hospital once again.
I thought this was quite funny.
No more drugs for this man.
Someone saying Mulder, it's all right, but it's not, oh God, why is it not all right? Will it ever be all right again?
Someone giving oxygen. Someone turning down pain. Turning down consciousness. Someone crying. Crying. Crying.
I took the mask off, Scully, I told her. Feeling proud, gulping stale air, not certain I was really talking. Not certain she was even there. Ye-es, I did. I took the mask off three times and the nurse yelled at me without really raising her voice. Then she put the tube in my nose. I'd take that out too if I could figure out just where my hands are.
I think I was hoping she would help me find them, my hands, I mean. Just one, even.
Where was the last place you saw them?
That sounded like something she would say. So practical.
The room is pale green and I count five clocks. Five clocks and the one on the far wall is two minutes fast. Quarter to eight and two minutes fast.
Maybe the world is two minutes slow.
I finally found my hand. It was on my nose. Where was the tube then? I could still hear screaming.
Too much damn noise in here if you ask me.
Why is my nose bleeding? The door swings in and out and in and said Recovery. Was I Recovered? Like the Andrea Doria? Brought up from the depths but still waterlogged. Gotta thank The Learning Channel for that one. I tried to remember if they really ever brought it up or if I'd imagined that part. The captain didn't go down with the ship though, and was branded a coward for it. I will never sail again, he said. All my life I have worshipped the sea and now I hate her.
The sea. Her eyes are like the sea. I thought they were beautiful--that she was beautiful--and she wasn't even there to hear me say it. The room is pale green like the sea and the nurses are all swimming. They open their mouths wide like fishes and soothing ocean sounds came out.
Fish... who's feeding my fish?
Pretty pastel-colored fishes with stethoscopes and I am suddenly in a shitload of pain. I could still hear screaming and I clued in to the fact that it was me.
She was untangling my I.V.
You saved the world, Scully...
Just a nurse, a pink one. Lay still now or you'll pull it right out. Wouldn't want to do that, oh no. They put it arbitrarily into my left hand. As per usual. I've done this how many times now? How about a little variety? She said morphine and I yell because I don't want any. It goes in cold and sharp under my blood, behind my eyes, closing me down.
My hand hurts why... why... why are you hurting me?
The surface of the water falls away to twilight then darkness. There now don't try to move said pink nurse, drowning me inside myself.
There now, she says. It's all right. Your nose is not bleeding it's not it's NOT it's fine. I don't know why you're so upset. The nurses all have mermaids' tails and I am weighted down by limbs I can't even find.
A later now and I am kicking my way to the surface.
No clocks at all here and it can't still be a quarter to eight. I wonder if it ever was. There are flowers television curtains windows with no sunlight. The sea is gone. I am Recovered.
A new yellow room with no clocks and I have to throw up.
Did I say it or just think it?
Louder--I Have To Throw Up. I heard the sound, maybe feeling my lips move. Maybe.
Once more with feeling.
I HAVE TO THROW UP. Preferably all over pink nurse but the kidney basin is just as good.
The service here is terrible. You'll get no tip from me, I tell you.
Kidney basin--thank you I--oh. Oh God. Is it over? Did all that come from me? It's dark green like down on the bottom of the deep blue sea counting fishies one two three.
I always did get seasick.
"You're okay," she told me. Scully. Her hand easing me back. Holding a cup to my mouth. "I'm here." I drink the water I didn't even know I was thirsty for. But she knew. Of course.
You always know what's best for me, Scully.
"Shh, don't try to talk just yet."
How do you know even when I don't know?
"You can tell me later, Mulder."
Scully, you saved the world.
Because you believed me.
She touched my cheek, my forehead, with tiny, cool fingers. Touches. Touching. Now. Still. The immediacy of the gesture is everything. "I'm not going anywhere."
I love you, Scully.
She frowned at the nurse who towered over me. Over Scully, too, and she is standing up now. So small even in her unsensible (insensible?) shoes. I say her name, or try to. I think I got close enough. She squeezed my hand and smiled.
I really do.
The nurse gives me Demerol again and Gravol. Things get fuzzy but not in a nice way, not at all. But Scully is here, and she isn't going anywhere. Everything *is* going to be all right, after all.