Jumped in the river
Black-eyed angels swam with me
The moon pushed out an astral cloud
Of all the figures I used to see
All my loves were there with me
All the past, the future
We all went in a little ball
There was nothing to fear, nothing at all.
There was nothing to fear, nothing at all.
I can't go back to sleep.
My stomach hurts, and I've got a migraine from hell, but I can't stop smiling. I had a dream tonight.
It's ridiculous. I can't believe how ecstatic I am. It's just that I haven't had a dream for four years. So I have to write it down. I don't want it to be like so many other things that have been forgotten. I don't trust my brain to keep it, but I doubt that I'll ever completely erase the images, either. Still, while it's fresh…
I feel like I could burst. There's an odd humming, beneath my skin, in my head. A pressure on my chest. I don't want to get my hopes up, but maybe Missy was right all along. Maybe it will just come.
All this because of one dull dream.
And it really was dull. All black, blurry, as though I was underwater, with no sounds. But there was this guy. I can't imagine that he could be someone I had known; I've never seen someone so totally captivating. He looked so familiar though, and I know this sounds weird, but he felt familiar, too. It was like…almost like I was in his head, and he was in mine. I heard a voice, but his mouth wasn't moving. He was saying my name. The funny thing was that I knew his, too. And just like everything about him, it was beautiful, because it was familiar.
What a day.
Bonnie eased herself into the bathroom, gently pushing the door closed with her weight. She didn't bother flipping on the light for the first minute, allowing herself the time needed to let some of the tension that had been building all evening melt away. Hearing the bouts of laughter mingled with muffled good-byes coming from the living room wasn't helping.
She didn't know what was wrong with her, or why all her efforts to enjoy the evening had been in vain. She had been genuinely looking forward to it, knowing that Melissa had worked hard to ensure their last Thanksgiving together would be special. She'd even convinced Stella Shapiro, who would rather die than break a nail, to help her with dinner. Amazingly, the bubbly blonde had a knack for baking.
She drew herself up, searching blindly for the light switch and squinting at the sudden fluorescent glow that illuminated her surroundings. She avoided looking in the stylish oval mirror situated over the sink, instead turning on the faucet and plugging the drain. Quickly, she cupped her hands under the cool stream, splashing her face and taking a few deep breaths. Watching the bowl slowly fill, she noted the subtle twitching of her hands and cursed quietly, clutching the rim of the sink until her knuckles were white.
"Get a grip, Bonnie," she muttered, ignoring the droplets of water falling from her chin as she lifted her gaze to her reflection.
She felt like she was losing her mind. It had only been a week since the dream, since she'd first woke with images still floating in front of her, but it felt like an eternity. And now, it was like everything was a dream; she found herself hearing things, seeing things that weren't there, feeling as though someone was watching her…and she wondered whether she was doing the right thing.
Staring back the image that greeted her, she was surprised to see how completely normal she looked, her long loose curls piled high upon her head and held with a clip, her complexion fair and dotted with faint freckles, her big brown eyes a little dazed, but lacking the dark circles that she was used to seeing. She moved her head from side to side, as though looking for something that wasn't there, supporting her weight on the edge of the sink as she leaned in closer, until her nose was nearly touching the glass, tiny mists forming with every exhale.
"You know what you need?" she whispered conspiratorially to the fragile girl staring back at her. "A drink."
A sadness crept into those eyes, a fleeting smile, and she sighed. Never again, she admonished silently, losing herself in the depths of her own gaze, the sounds of the water running slowly fading away. She became aware of a low hum, drowning out everything else, her vision blurring and filling with a blackness that crept in from the periphery, and in that instant, she had the oddest sensation that she was staring back at someone else, someone who had the darkest eyes she'd ever seen…
"Earth to Bonnie…."
She blinked, the voice of one of her roommates drawing her from her trance, and she was suddenly aware that the water was still running, tiny rivulets spilling over the porcelain bowl and dripping onto the floor, forming puddles on the checkered tiles.
"Oh, shit," she muttered, reflexively turning off the tap before fetching a towel from the rack over the toilet. Balancing her weight on her heels, she began mopping up the mess, somewhat flustered by her behavior. She sensed someone kneeling beside her, and cringed, already formulating an adequate white lie to explain everything away.
"Bonnie, are you okay?"
Definitely the $64,000 question of late. Even she didn't know the answer. She cast a reassuring glance in Rachel's direction, offering a small smile as she stood, busying herself with tidying the mess she'd made.
"I mean," the taller girl added hastily, her blue eyes widening somewhat, her Southern drawl tainting every word, "you seemed kinda out of it during dinner."
Bonnie sighed, her shoulders falling slightly as she watched the last of the water swirl and disappear down the drain. She wondered then why she'd never been a closer friend with Rachel Summers, with her mellow personality and dry wit that never failed to get a laugh. Bonnie had always admired her beauty, so different from anyone else, with her cropped, spiky black hair, fair skin, intimidating height and bright blue eyes. It would be so easy to open up to her, to tell her the truth for once, but she also knew that the fewer people who knew about her history, the better. The last thing she wanted was pity.
"I'm fine, Rae. Just a little tired," she replied, keeping her back turned. She'd always been a rotten liar, in spite of all the practice she was getting.
She sensed Rachel's hesitation and awaited another pointed question, but was instead saved by the sound of Melissa's voice calling from somewhere in the apartment.
"Rachel, you're supposed to help with the dishes, since you didn't cook."
The dark-haired girl groaned, and Bonnie smiled, more from relief than amusement, as Rachel slinked from the doorway, peeking around the jamb to add, "You know, if you need anything…"
Bonnie shook her head, waving her away dismissively as she tossed the towel she'd used into the hamper by the sink. "I know. Really, Rae. I'm fine."
Rachel smiled amiably, apparently satisfied, and backed into the hallway. It wasn't a minute later that Melissa made an appearance, a knowing frown upon her face, dark brown eyes summing her up from beneath long lashes. Leaning upon the doorframe, she brushed chestnut tresses behind her ear before crossing her arms stoically. Bonnie knew that look all too well. She wouldn't be as easy to put off as Rachel. Then again, Melissa knew too much to be had.
With a sigh of resignation, Bonnie plopped down on the toilet seat, propping her elbows on her knees and cradling her chin in her hands. Melissa took that as a silent cue, stepping into the bathroom and closing the door softly behind her.
"Alright, chick. Spill. You've been acting funny all week." She pulled the hamper over so that she could sit facing Bonnie, straddling the whicker accessory while she spoke. "And what's the deal, giving Jack the cold shoulder? You know he's got it bad for you."
Jack was Melissa's twin brother, and just as gorgeous as Melissa was rambunctious. Both had the same color hair and eyes, but while Melissa was delicate in frame and countenance, Jack was the complete opposite, with strong, chiseled features, broad shoulders, and a body that was all long, lean muscle. Both Rachel and Stella had practically begged to be hooked up, but it was Bonnie who had unknowingly caught his eye during their sophomore year, when she'd tutored him in calculus. In spite of his best efforts, she'd managed to avoid a date since then.
Bonnie didn't bother with skirting the issue, knowing all too well where Melissa's prodding would eventually lead. She opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted by Melissa's voice, calm and quiet.
"I'm just gonna ask, straight out, because I just really need to know, Bon."
Bonnie's gaze flickered upwards, the seriousness of her friend's tone piquing her curiosity. Melissa wasn't looking at her, but at the lid of the hamper, one finger tracing the weave vaguely.
"You haven't started again, have you?"
Bonnie frowned, sitting up slightly, uncertain of her implications. "Started? Started what?"
The words had left her mouth before she realized exactly what Melissa was asking. Suddenly all too aware, she scoffed, cursing under her breath and turning her head away, the initial hurt giving way to anger. From behind, she heard Melissa shift uneasily on the hamper.
"Bonnie, can you blame me? You've been a thousand miles away today, and you were shaking so bad at dinner, even Rachel noticed-"
"Shut up, Missy."
Melissa fell silent at the sound of Bonnie's voice, an angry hiss that left no room for argument. She bowed her head, instantly regretting having voiced her assumptions, regardless of whether she'd had good reason.
"You know, you haven't exactly been the poster child for sobriety. Dammit." Bonnie stood, pressing her palms against her eyes in agitation, keeping her back to Melissa. "I can't fucking believe this."
She spun, glaring down on Melissa, her fists balling at her sides to hide the fact that she was indeed shaking, although it was for an entirely different reason. "So that's what this was all about?" she demanded, gesturing with a jerky sweep of her arm. "The Thanksgiving dinner, all the sentimental bullshit, inviting Jack and his friends over…"
Melissa was shaking her head, holding her hands up defensively, her eyes pleading. "Bonnie, God, no, it was nothing like that…I-"
"You know, why the hell should I tell you anything? You're just going to assume the worst anyway. Bonnie didn't feel like flirting with Jack for once, so she's just got to be on something…"
"Bon, stop, please," Melissa interrupted, her voice small and tremulous. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean-"She fell silent under the weight of Bonnie's scrutiny, tears stinging the backs of her eyes.
Bonnie suppressed the urge to say anything more, again turning away, this time to lean against the wall, her forehead touching the cool plaster. She took a few deep breaths, having surprised herself by her outburst, but not rueful in the least. She was tired of being treated like a child instead of a friend, though she knew, in her case, drawing a line between the two was sometimes hard.
For nearly a year, Bonnie had been slowly destroying herself with alcohol, along with various other party "favors". She'd been feeling vulnerable, isolated, unable to withstand the self-inflicted loneliness from being too ashamed to tell anyone else about her amnesia. It had been Melissa who'd been the only one to play witness to the hazards of her excesses, covering for her when she was too blitzed to go to class, making excuses when her behavior got out of hand. A bad experience with ecstasy over the summer had finally forced Bonnie to take control. She'd told Melissa everything, and in the process, had acquired an invaluable ally in her efforts to remain hopeful--and clean.
She was faintly aware of shuffling, opening her eyes to glance sidelong at Melissa, who had replaced the hamper and was turning to leave. Sighing resolutely, she cleared her throat, causing Melissa to pause in her retreat.
"I stopped taking my meds."
The silence that followed was almost palpable. Neither one moved for countless moments, until, at last, Melissa canted her head to the side, speaking over her shoulder softly.
"Why? Are you…Do you think that's a good idea?"
Though she knew Melissa couldn't see it, she shrugged, pushing away from the wall and reclaiming her seat on the edge of the toilet seat. "I had a dream the other night. The first I've had in a very long time. I'd forgotten to take my medication before going to bed."
Melissa turned a little more, looking down at Bonnie curiously. "And you thought that it had something to do with your dream?"
Again, another shrug. "I've never forgotten them before. I don't like…forgetting things." There was a distinctive pause before she continued. "So, I decided to go without them for a day. To see if I had another dream."
Running a hand through her hair, Melissa squatted down, one hand on the sink to steady her. "And?"
"I did. A longer one. Clearer."
"I don't understand, Bon. What's so great about these dreams to make you stop taking your meds?" Melissa leaned forward, attempting to look Bonnie in the eye. "Isn't that a little, I don't know…dangerous?"
Bonnie rolled her eyes, a wry smirk lifting the corners of her mouth, covering her insecurity with nonchalance. "God, Missy, I don't even know what the hell those things are really for, anyway. I'm only taking them because my parents told me I had to. I never thought to question their judgment, you know, given the circumstances."
Melissa found that revelation somewhat disturbing, but deciding against commenting on it. She'd already crossed the line once that evening. "Still, what's with these dreams?"
Bonnie sat up slowly, reclining against the back of the toilet, her trembling hands fidgeting in her lap. She was somewhat uneasy about divulging anything more, but knew what suffering in silence had done to her in the past. Still, some things were better left unsaid, at least until she was a little more certain, so she decided against telling her about her "visions".
Taking a break from biting on her bottom lip, she murmured, "I don't think they're dreams."
She shifted her gaze to Melissa's, the solemnity in her gaze punctuating the gravity of her words. Her friend tilted her head slightly, as though trying to predict the current train of thought without much success. When she didn't say anything, Bonnie averted her focus to her denim-clad lap, splaying her unsteady hands upon her thighs.
"I think they're memories."
November 30, 1997
He tells me not to be afraid. That I'm strong, stronger than I think I am. I can tell he's happy, though I'm not entirely sure why. He reached out to me tonight, but I couldn't move, even though I wanted to touch him so badly. "In time," he said. If only I knew what that meant.
He's part of what I've been missing. The buzzing in the back of my mind, the dark shadow lingering. I still haven't figured out who he is, or how I know him, or why it is that he's so important. I've looked through all the pictures that Mom sent me, through my yearbook…he's not there. But that doesn't matter.
I know he's real. Even more real to me than all those other faces in my head. He seems so close in my dreams. Sometimes, when I wake up, I can still smell him.
The semester will be over in two weeks. Maybe I'll find something out when I go home. Somehow…I have this strange feeling Mom and Dad won't be as happy as I am. It makes me wonder.
I don't know. I'm tired. For once, that's a good thing.