Sunday, September 23, 2018

I May Never Sleep Again

by Gracey (writer), Orillia, August 17, 2010

Credit: ©J. Gracey Stinson
I May Never Sleep Again

Blood again. I remember blood staining my finger as I removed my gloves; and a tissue. I grabbed a tissue from my purse to wipe my finger.

I glanced at the table. Wine glasses; four of them. My purse, gloves, scarf. Nothing else. Sounds gradually seeped through the fog; restaurant sounds. The clinking of cutlery, the clattering of glassware; laughter, giggling, snickering; the droning sound of too many voices at once.

A restaurant. I was in a restaurant. What restaurant or where, I don't know. And I was alone at the table.

Around the table on the floor was a mess of tissue paper, wrapping paper, an empty box. What was in it? I moved (slowly) from the chair to pick it up; an inborn abhorrence for disorder, I suppose. As I stood my legs refused to hold me, and I hit the hard seat of the wooden chair abruptly. I waited, and tried again. I picked up the pieces, slowly placing them on the table and sat again, exhausted.

As I sat, other remnants began to float up from the depths of my memory: a man - tall, bald-headed with a strong nose and chin. An earring decorated the lobe of his left ear, and there was blood. A small bit of blood coming from his chest. He had a quill pen in one hand. A woman. She was laughing, and drinking a glass of wine across the table from me, and there was a man beside her. Nondescript; average looking, brown hair. Not smiling.

Blood again. I remember blood staining my finger as I removed my gloves; and a tissue. I grabbed a tissue from my purse to wipe my finger. The earringed man again, reaching over with his quill pen towards my hand. "Allow me" he says. I remember a quick jab, a sting; him laughing as I pulled my hand away in anger. He leaned over to kiss me and I pulled back. Then, nothing. Just blackness and nothingness.

I sighed as I gathered my bits and pieces and pulled myself together. Putting on my coat, I heard a commotion behind me. Police, dressed in black with weapons drawn and pointed. At me. The crowd: angry, glaring at me now. The police, stern and stiff. Except for one. He had handcuffs and chains. Confusion. My mind wouldn't focus. He took my hands, gently, placing a handcuff around each wrist, wrapping them together with a chain. They were black; the cuffs were wide and black, like manacles, and the chain was black. Details. He took my chin in his hand and lifted my head, opening my mouth to fasten the chain to a tooth. That's when I cried.

The crowd had thinned considerably. A waitress told me I should make my way to the cruiser outside. Odd. What sort of police department expects you to get yourself to the car?

I walk out of the dimness of the restaurant into the sunshine. It was chilly, the breeze blowing my hair out behind me. The grass was green: two choices, spring or fall. No leaves on the trees. I guessed spring. The grass had that light green you see in the spring, before the summer heat arrives. In front of me was a hillside, a dirt road to the right, with a single police car parked about halfway up. I started up the hill and fell. Shackles on my ankles. I don't remember them being there. The policeman was suddenly at my side, helping me up, telling me it was difficult to get up the hill in the anklets. Yeah, I figured that one out.

I remember being placed in the cruiser, and I remember arriving at a compound of some sort, but I don't remember the ride in between. As we approached the compound, I could see it was on a raised plateau; surrounded by chain fencing, but no barbed wire. The grounds were full of cars and vans: police and military vehicles; hundreds, maybe thousands; coloured lights flashing on and off. For me? All of that because of me? What had I done?

I don't remember getting out of the car, but I remember walking up a concrete incline inside the building. I remember my husband coming up the incline to me; this man I had been married to for nearly 34 years. His face was deadpan. He didn't seem at all surprised, not even puzzled. I was as puzzled as hell.

A room, as big as any ballroom. A desk and chair, and hundreds of police and dark-suited officials; no one I recognized. I was helped to the chair. A suited man came forward and my cuffs were removed. He handed me my purse - no, it wasn't my purse, it was "a" purse. It was clear, and you could see into it. More like a makeup bag. I could see my passport, my credit cards, health card, library card...other identification. My brush and lipstick, the tissue with my blood on it. I looked up at him from my position in the chair. He gestured for me to open the bag. I did. I reached in and removed the passport, suddenly afraid. I looked up again, this time looking around the room. American flags at each end of the long room. I was in the United States. I looked back at the passport in my hand, knowing something was bad. Very bad. I was sweating as I began to open the passport...

That's when I woke up. In my own bed. I woke with my heart trying to pound itself out of my chest, sweat pouring off me, and the words "I am a Canadian" in my mouth.

I may never sleep again.

About the Writer

Gracey is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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