Altered States

There was nowhere to hide. The pain would not go away. Everything had become surreal. She was living in a nightmare from which she could not awaken, felt herself slipping away into the madness of loss and betrayal. Anger fueled her desperation. Anger at her dead lover, her so-called friends, her colleagues at work. She could not find shelter, tortured by the shadows in her apartment, in her mind.

The doubts. The denial. Trying to wash them away with the bottles of scotch was futile. A black hole had opened inside her, needing to be filled. Somehow, drawing a line of coke across her dead partner's picture seemed so right, a demented stroke of justice. As if inhaling the drug would vindicate the hate and the anger for all those in that photograph.

She needed to feel alive again. To let the dead bury the dead. She needed to know that she was not completely lost, not just a ghost.

The thumping bass and flashing lights connected to her racing pulse as she cruised the bar, looking but not quite seeing. The gyrating bodies blurred before her, providing another stimulant to her sensory overload. Loud was good, white noise to block out the empty echo in her heart.

She tried to reach out, blindly. The desperate seduction ended in her flat with a curt dismissal …

"You're just wrong."

She made her way to the sofa, her head buzzing with self-loathing and the faint realization of just what, just who she may be missing. If she had been sober enough to dwell on that fleeting glimpse of an awkward truth, she would have known that there was, indeed, a lifeline to be found in this whole sordid situation.

Instead, she fell back onto the couch and into a restless slumber.

Across the city, another confused and somewhat inebriated soul dreamed of someone she could not seem to reach. As she lay on her couch, she felt a sudden warmth and, eyes still closed, grasped the hands providing the comfort … the hands of her dream lover.

"You're lovely."