Another excerpt from the manuscript, revealing a bit more of Eleanor’s state of mind here, since Jack’s is fairly obvious on the page:
Her eyelids feel as thin as dragonfly wings.
She resists opening them for as long as she can, but they are shot through with bright needles. She cries then as she forces her eyes open. Hot tears spill down the sides of her face and into her ears and hair. She blinks. Her eyelids respond slowly.
She waits for her bombed-out vision to resolve itself. Minutes pass, and the brilliant fog creeps back. A vast white room unfolds, overexposed, nuclear-bright. Progressively her surroundings settle into things infinitely more ordinary, if still blurry. She recognizes the unhappy scene of a hospital room. The blinding white walls and ceiling degrade to the color of tapioca. Fluorescent panels buzz and flicker shutter-fast like strobes.
Blurry, but recognizable. Unacceptable, she thinks to herself.
She will not cry. Remembers the feeling of tears just moments before.
She will not cry again.
Eleanor closes her eyes tightly, willing the warm and colorful darkness to return. She listens urgently for the voice, but can hear only the drone of the machines around her. Flexes her fingers until her hands throb and cramp painfully, but she does not feel the sweet crescendo of the colors. Only the scratchy textures of the hospital linen.
Her entire body feels as if it has been compressed into a tiny shell. She tries to open her mouth to release the wail that she can feel building inside. Her mouth will not open. Her eyes pound from the effort of looking so steeply downward, but she sees the blue plastic tube curling into her mouth, and she stifles the urge to vomit. She can feel it now, rigid in her throat.
She cries anyway. She shuts her eyes so forcefully that she develops a headache. As loudly as she can, she thinks WHERE DID YOU GO? She waits for a response, but time, so taffy-pulled before, has been restored to its old straight, stupid self again. Unacceptable, she thinks again. Unfair, unfair. COME BACK. She cannot stop the tears now. Where did you go? Where did you go?
Everything hurts too much. It is as if she has been born into a shattering car crash. Her body is overstimulated. Something beeps urgently in her ear, and then the blackness snarls in and overtakes her.
She welcomes it until she realizes that it is not the same darkness of her long, fairy tale fall.
Eleanor closes her eyes and gives up. She hangs in the black, suspended, empty.
Happy Monday to all, and happy thirty-first birthday to my sister!