Sleeping Awareness

Off to dreams and weird dreams at that.  Your mind is now a torrent with ideas while your sleeping trying to contemplate the dilemma of your time traveling incident.  You awaken in a dream still lying in your bed, with the screen of your wall sized TV still on.  On the TV you are watching repeats of events in your life where you experienced “time travel” or other possible temporal paradoxes.  One from 3 years of age, one from 7 years of age, a couple from 10 and 11, and one when you were sixteen.  You mind is rehashing these events and letting you watch as if it were a television show.  The images and themes keep repeating in your mind and a pattern begins to emerge in your mind.  You notice that every time you’re in these other worldly realms that you feel as if your being pulled somewhere.  You are always looking at the world you know of but suspended in this watery suspended animation there is a sensation.  In the distance beyond the light, there is a darker abyssal blue.  It’s something like looking off into the deeper water where the light from the bottom stops reaching the surface.  Like staring into an ocean of time.  You can feel the subtle currents pulling towards it, but you can’t reach it.  The current is only subtle so you aren’t sweep away.  In every memory the abyss is in a different place but always just as far.

It feels far, but somehow right next to you.  You can feel the cold and darkness of it pressing on your soul like th

e pressures of the great depths of the ocean.  You look off into it as if you are scuba diving near the edge of the coastal shelf where the depth goes from 30 feet to 300 feet very steeply.  But more… Even though all you can see is the blankness of it and the pressure, you also can feel something calling to you from beyond it.  It’s like a tingling of fate, and you long to know what is on the other side.  You feel like there is a light at the end of that blackness, but don’t know why.  Your life feels imperfect and incomplete, but whatever it is in this light it feels…  PERFECT.  It feels like a watery tunnel with no walls where your death awaits accept that you are reborn on the other side.  The feelings of this strange world become real as gravity rips you from your bed and into the screen on your wall which you fall.

The world splashes away from you as you are pulled further away watching you empty room aglow with light from the waves of a pool, like you’re looking at the world from the bottom of it.  You feel the cold surges of water tugging at you but you can breathe in it still.  You can feel a powerful suction pulling you towards to deeper, darker, but still blue glow beneath you.  The pressure makes it hard to breathe, and you begin to flail trying to swim to the surface and back into the safety of your room, but to no avail.  You suddenly feel something violently grab your right foot and bite down on your toe.  You wail out a cry in pain and spring up from your bed now wide awake with a white furry thing trying to assault your foot through the sheets.  You kick your leg under the comforter sending the cat flying off the bed and with the frantic scratching and scampering paw steps you hear her run off to the living room where her footsteps disappear.  “Starlight, you little pain in the neck!”, you shout at her after the sound stops.

She must have thought it was playtime while you were flailing your feet around under the sheets.  Grabbing the corner of the sheets and comforter you simultaneous swing your legs over the edge of your bed and sit up.  “How long did I sleep?” slips from your yawning mouth as you rub your eyes.  You look to the window and notice no light peaking around it’s edges, and look at your alarm clock… 7:47pm.  “OH, SHIT!  I was supposed to be dressed and ready to go out by now…”  “Crap, crap, CRAP!” you exclaim as you rustle from your bed and frantically shuffle through your drawer for a pair of panties and a bra.  You slide the panties on, and throw your arms through and upwards in the bra to slide it down.  You reach behind to clasp it as you walk to the bathroom using your shoulder to power on the lights.  “Mmm, grrr!” you mumble with your mouth mostly closed as you see the mess you made of your hair by sleeping with it wet.  You stagger back into your room and go for the closet next to your dresser and vanity, and with a one hand thrust you peruse your wardrobe.

It’s laden with mostly blues, blue-greens and blacks, with a few piercing reds, and browns.  On the pants side you have a lot of white tops, and skirts, and your eye is pulled away by your favorite turquoise cocktail dress.  You quickly slide over your head pulling it down past your blue floral panties and spin on a heel to your top right dresser drawer.  From it you shuffle through it a bit.  Nothing is organized, just shoved inside in whatever way would fit.

You feel the foot of a black pair of tights swirled into the pantyhose mayhem and pull them out while restraining the rest with your other hand.  You quickly lean against the wall sliding them on with one hand, while reaching around behind you into the closet for your blue, closed-toe, wedge-heeled shoes.  At first you grab the black strap ones, but you put them back and grab the others.  Setting them back, you grab the right pair and set them on the dresser.  You use both hands to pull the tights the rest of the way up and toss the shoes on the ground and slide your feet into them.

Trotting to the door of your bed room, you grab a necklace, and your watch off the vanity and slide them on all the while staring at your alarm clock.  7:59 glowing like a beacon in the dimly illuminated room.  Starlight shoves her head through the cracked bedroom door to take a look at what you’re doing, and as she looks at you her eyes glow blue-green in the darkness.  You look at the watch and realize it’s actually 8:14pm already, and you are miffed about it taking so long to get ready.  This is all in spite of the fact that it usually takes you an hour to get ready.  You walk into the restroom, and begin vigorously spraying your hair with detangler, as getting a shower right now isn’t feasible.  You spray your hair damp and begin to brush it out into a somewhat keep up with but ever so slightly messy look.  You’re feel lucky that you’re the type who has slept hair that just turns wavy and not flat, so you can actually get away with brushing and detangling alone.  You quickly throw on some light make-up, some lip balm and gloss and wince from mascara specks getting in your eye.  “Crap” you shout looking at your watch again!  8:34pm…  Usually you are a leisurely dresser, but when you have some place to be you always have an unfortunate tendency to over sleep.

Not your fault really, it’s because of your low blood pressure, vertigo and sleep disorder that you excessively over-sleep.  However, you hate being late to places so it really pisses you off.  Finally complete, you dab your wrists with perfume and truck your way to the tiny atrium’s closet and grab your brown suede trench coat, and shuffle through it’s pockets for your keys.  “Not there”, you mumble as you swivel your head towards the kitchenette bar counter and catch a glimmer of shiny metal on the counter from your bathroom light.  Violently snatching your keys and flipping the kitchenette light on, then off again to check Starlight’s food and water bowl you finally walk out the door, shutting it firmly and locking it behind you.

Briskly moving down the stairs as your heels make crackling sounds on the rock salt and refrozen snow, you look to the bus stop barely visible through the trees near the courtyard/pool area south of your apartment complex.  The bus will be here in a few minutes and you stop to make sure it isn’t here yet.  It’s 8:41pm now, and you shuffle your feet through the partially snow-covered sidewalk to the roadside bus stop.  It’s covered with a Plexiglas shelter and has a back-lit poster board to illuminate it, like the ones you see at that movie theater.  The sun is long gone now as you stare at the sky and the glow of the moon through the veil of clouds.  You are standing under the unheated shelter wishing you’d worn a thicker set of tights as you begin to shiver.  You look at your OLED wrist watch which also has a thermometer on reading 21° F and 8:45pm now.  Some people think your insane for wearing such and expensive wristwatch on the bus, but it’s your only watch and it was a gift from an ex who had more dollars than sense.

Out of the corner of your eye you see a boxy shape with two white lights at bottom and 5 yellow ones with an LED display at its top approaching you from the left.  The bus is here, but it’s too late as you are already chilled to the bone and shivering severely with teeth chattering.  I hope the bus is really warm you think as you do the “I’m fucking freezing” prance eagerly waiting as the bus squeaks to a stop in front of you.  With a gushing sound, and a small blast of warm air you trek up the steps and promptly slide 2 dollar bills and a quarter into the money slots by the drivers console.  The driver looks as old as Christmas, and sounds like a dying crow when he calls to you as you begin to walk to a seat “Transfer?”  You turn and look to him, “Yes… Almost forgot”.  You reach and grab the ticket stub from him and sit in the sideways seat next to the door.  Your feet don’t touch the floor of the bus from where you are seated, so as always you impatiently rock your feet, especially when you’re running late.  Back and forth, back and forth, and sometimes it’s almost enough to lull you to sleep though not so tonight.  There is a cold anxiety stirring in your bones, for reasons unpronounced to you.

Now taking a moment to reflect you pan your head around the bus and notice it is almost empty aside from a young woman with more piercings than a Gothic metal band singer, and a middle-aged man dressed like a hobo.  Your mind’s eye turns to the dream you had and the events of this morning as you pull a pair of ear buds from your left pocket and push them into your ears.  Then through the outside of the pocket you feel for the play button of your media player, pushing it once to turn in on and once more to make it play the last song it was playing.

The relaxing and easing sounds of upbeat industrial song fills your ears, and you lean your head back and close your eyes and visualize the watery realm you visited earlier today.  “What was it?  What was that dream about?  What in the hell was all of that about?”, you murmur to yourself.  These thoughts swirl about in your mind making you dizzy from thinking about them as you mumble to yourself.  “Maybe I really am losing my mind”, you muddle to yourself.  Head still tilted back you shake it a little opening your eyes and staring upwards at the flickering fluorescent bulb over your head.  The subtle shaking of the bus seems in time with the melody of your music as you see the hand grip strap rock back and forth with the bus.  You stop kicking your legs, and start thinking of the friends you are going out to hang out with tonight.  You lean your head back forward as a swirl of dizziness overtakes you and makes you close your eyes once again, opening them when the moment passes again.  The bus is approaching the spot you need to change buses at so you pull the stop request cord.  The bus passes through the green light and after it stops you get off and walk back to the light to hit the cross walk button to walk to the southbound bus stop.

Your mind feels the depression of the utter sameness of this all, but the music makes it bearable.  A small, lonely part of you just wants to catch the bus back home and curl back up in your bed and watch anime all night again, but you press on.  You go out semi-regular, and it’s the same old bus ride with mostly the same old people on it.  Nothing ever seems to change.  It’s comfortable though sometimes you wish something interesting would happen.  “Be careful what you wish for”, flashes across your mind as if it were a stock ticker.  You walk to the stop, and relax for your usual 10 minute wait for the bus to arrive.  The song changes in your ears and goes to an eerie mysterious melody of another song on your player as if it was foreshadowing something was about to happen.  The tone increases in pitch and the main part of the song starts and you catch something out of the corner of your eye.  Faintly visible you see a blue warbling texture slightly highlighting the mostly cloudy night sky that had given way partly for some brighter stars.  You stare intently at it’s watery glow as a sense of dread creeps up your spine.  Your jaw drops as the sky appears faintly like the water of an ocean, which through it’s transparency you can still see the stars just barely.

You quickly turn your head towards the ground clinching your eyes shut murmuring to yourself… “Get a grip Anna, get a grip”, there is nothing there you think, “it’s got to be the Aurora Borealis or something”.  Suddenly your startled by a thought that makes you cease breathing for a moment before resuming.  “This is too far south for the Aurora Borealis to appear” and with this realization you sharply turn back to the sky.   But when you look back at the sky the watery blue glow is gone, and self-doubt begins to creep in.  Deep inside your heart you begin to feel the familiar old feeling, that fear.  Though out your life, you’ve always had this existential depression because you are so aware of the realities of life.  Some days you just can’t help but lie there a let the feeling consume you.  Returning to reality now, “Was it just a hallucination?”, you question yourself in a state of sheer bewilderment.  The bus had pulled up to you while you were distracted and a sweet and soft voice beckons you from it’s opened doors… “You coming?” the exasperated bus driver calls.  You take notice and respond simply and softly “Yes”.  You climb on while pulling your transfer stub from your pocket and flashing it to the driver and quickly take your usual seat.  The driver is a is a younger but slightly, overweight woman in her mid twenties with meticulously kept and braided long hair.  Her hair must be really thick because the braid is about 2 inches wide you ponder intently if she does it herself, considering your own hair is a pain to style.

You lean forward holding the metal bar near the door so you don’t fall out of your seat.  “Hey, who does your hair?” you ask the woman panning traffic at the 88th street traffic light waiting for it to turn green again.  She turns and looks over her shoulder slightly and replies in her sweet but strong voice “I do it myself.  I have to get up an extra hour early to braid it”.  “It’s worth it… It’s my vanity I guess”, she continues.  “Hmm, well it looks very nice and it’s very well done.  I wish I could do my hair like that” you reply.  She quickly retorts to you facing forward now as the light turns green “Yeah, but your probably one of those women who can get up spray your hair a little and brush it and go”.  She chuckles a little.  “Yeah, you could be right there”, you laugh back about how astute her observation was.  You push yourself back against the seat with your arm and place your hands on your lap.

The eerie song from earlier ends and flips to a fast paced electric rock song, and you lean your head back and relax for the rest of the ride and space out to the sounds of your music all the while praying your really not losing your mind.  30 minutes flies by in your music driven waking dream, and you look up to see you are downtown now and approaching your stop.  You reach up pulling yourself off the seat as your head begins to spin again and disembark from the bus back into the cold giving a gentle wave to the bus driver.

You turn with a swivel of the ball of your foot and begin walking to the bar your friends are at that is about two blocks away.  The lights of the bars, liquor stores and restaurants are aglow with multicolored neon and warm streetlights as you traverse the cross walk.  The teal green glow of the traffic light is inviting, and you can see the red light above you reflecting off of the salt melted ice beneath your feet.  You trek back up onto the sidewalk on the other side and feel thankful that the city keeps the downtown sidewalks so clear.  There is almost no snow or ice on them at all.  With your grace you know you would bust your ass all the time if they didn’t do that.  Giving yourself credit in though, you don’t fall often without being to catch yourself, but when you do you break things.  This little block of sidewalk before the last block of your short walk is actually an empty lot with huge trees on it that was too odd a shape to build or zone on.  It’s like a mini park and is triangular in shape from the three cross streets that partition it.  They put little park benches on it, and a small plaque in the middle of it, but nothing more.  It’s pretty nice, and very peaceful looking.  You cross the next street and are now standing in front of the bar.  It’s kind of old school looking with no neon, wood siding, wood shutters on the windows, and a green overhang to keep snow and rain off of the patrons waiting for an ID checks to enter.

You get in line behind a man an a woman locking arms like a couple would and some short but obviously annoyed older man.  The couple pull their IDs together and the door attendant shines a little flashlight over them, then clicks it turning it into a black light scans the cards again.  “Okay” he grumbles as the young woman lets out an almost squeaky high-pitched “Thank you“.  The old man walks up and now seeing the two standing side by side makes the door man look like a giant.  He asks for the man’s ID card and the old man reluctantly complies as if insulted by the gesture.  To be honest I can understand why he would be so annoyed.  The guy looks like he is 65 at least.  The old man walks in and it’s my turn.  I walk up to the door man and he is at least a head length taller than me and I am staring up him.  I can’t say I am not intimidated by this giant man with biceps big enough to pop off my head like a beer bottle cap, but he has a good demeanor so it’s not too bad.  He goes through the flashlight/black light routine then chivalrously reaches out and opens the door for me.  I thank him and walk in and begin panning the crowd for my friends.  I quickly realize my search is frivolous and begin walking to their usual spot.

The bar is very tavern style and is pristine, and has beautiful wood architecture that is stained a deep brown and finished with a glossy shine.  The ceiling is sloped up to the center support pillar, that looks like a full-sized tree with the bark shaved off, with branches still protruding from it and merging into the ceiling.  The bar is quite long going from almost right at the front door along the left wall to the rear/patio door.  Half the bar is enclosed in a semi narrow hallway to the patio and the bar is broken into three sections.  The main room has three or four large wall screens with sporting events playing on them with a dozen or so people spread out between 10 of the 12 bar stool style tables.  Beyond the bar’s wine glass hangers,  and the jukebox there is almost no metal in this place.  The second partition starts with the hallway with the bar begins, it is a closed off double booth with wood vertical railing marking the opening, this is probably where your friends are.  The third partition opens up into a very dark room with black light pervading from it’s beaded curtains and the vague sounds of dance music pouring out, as well as little bellows of fog from the fog machines every once in a while.

It’s not supposed to do that as most of the bar is ventilated very well, but the fans don’t always keep it out.  I see some familiar faces peaking around the second partition and I continue moving in that direction.  Their usual spot has two large oval-shaped booth style seats with a low-hanging, stained glass covered dining room lamp over each.  My friends are drinking beer, and the girls are all drinking mixed drinks accept one leaning against the wall to the right as you walk in.  It’s a little noisy as they are all being obnoxious telling boob jokes, and other crude sexual humor… again.  You sigh to yourself.  Vic, the one leaning against the wall say’s “Hey, girl” in her semi-raspy, but deep, and fairly sexy voice.  My friends are still laughing too hard and spilling too much beer on themselves to notice I have shown up yet.

One (Mike) finally looks up from his frothy stout and shouts “What the hell Anna!  Sun didn’t go down soon enough for you to emerge from your coffin?”  He cackled at you and you respond “No, I just overslept”.  “Who were you eating then, cause it’s 10:05pm already” he retorts with hysterical laughter and an unintentional snort.  You giggle a little when he snorts in his hysterical laughter.  “Bob get the girly hear a Bloody Marv”, Edward (left of Mike’s Girlfriend) shouts to the bartender, and beer girl giggling uncontrollably at Mike joke in his intoxication.  “It’s a Bloody Mary, dork” I retort to him as I then hang my head around the corner.

I speak over the noise and music towards the bartender “I don’t drink blood, so I’d prefer something else, probably something smoothie like.”  Frank the bartender lifts the mug he is drying with the towel still in it, “Okay Anna.  Can I get you anything else?”  “Nope, not unless you have a muzzle for these jokers”, I chuckle in response.  “Coming right up”, chimes from his mouth while waving for the overly relaxed looking waitress draped over the counter by him. I continue to giggle a little and go back to my friends.  They return back to their typical laughter and insanity that happens when they start drinking and 7:30pm and don’t stop till midnight.  Their girlfriends sit there giggling probably laughing more at how stupid they look acting like fools more than their jokes actually being funny.  Always amuses me how everyone is a comedian after a pitcher of beer.  I am so different from this group that I don’t even know why I come out sometimes, but…  I usually have a few drinks then go out to the patio to talk with Vic.  She is the only person who I am really good friends with here, the rest are more or less acquaintances.  The beer girl hands me a tall daiquiri, and I sip it.  Strawberry, my favorite.

Victoria goes by Vic because she is a power-lifter and probably has more balls than most of the men in this bar.  She is really cute though, kind of like Milla Jovovich on steroids.  If she ever asked me out, I’d be hard pressed to turn her down, but we’ve always just been friends.  Most men won’t date her because she could break their spines with her pinky finger.  We’re both sort of outsiders to the normal ways women are supposed to be in the world so that is probably why we get along.  As for everyone else, they like to joke with me about being a vampire because in 3 years none of them have seen the sunlight touch my light ivory skin.  Also, apparently my eyes look red when I am mad, but as far as I know they are hazel and turquoise.  I am your average build slightly taller than others girls woman with darkly dyed hair and pale skin.  Well, I guess that isn’t so typical but, eh.   I am just a smidge cuter than average, I think, and I won’t let people say I am hot, because I guess I know I am not.  Though sometimes I wish I looked different so that I’d catch the attention of a certain woman, but I try not to entertain those thoughts.  It just depresses me to think about how badly I’d like to curl up in her arms I guess…

To be honest, I’d be kind of bothered by all the attention if I was hot.  I’m a classic wallflower.  Anyhow, the guys are just a bunch of drunken chatterboxes, and their girlfriends are just playing along until they get them home, if you know what I‘m insinuating.  Never had the stomach for girls like those, but eh… to each his or her own.

Vic tugs on my sleeve and says, “You want to go to the patio?”  I just nod and follow her while taking a deep sip of my drink notching it down to half way.

Leaving all but sounds no louder than a whisper of people talking we stand on the heated patio.  The wind is blasting cold through the canvas encased patio sending chilling breezes up my thigh.  “Good thing I wore stockings”, and mutter just loud enough for her to hear.

“Got a little bit of a bruise there, girl.  Is everything alright?” she inquires to me about the corner of my forehead showing through my bangs.  “No, I am fine.  It’s just been one of those days”, I retort in an effort to shield myself from her inspection.  “Nah, I know better than that…  I haven’t seen you like that since night Mike and Rob followed you around with holy water and sun lamps trying to see if you burst into flames”, she attests as I feel her eyes prying into me.  I roll my head towards her slightly, letting my once down turned eyes move up to look into hers.  “Man, I swear if I wasn’t straight I’d take you home”, she chuckles.

“Every time you look at me with those cute little kitty eyes I fall for you in a just a moment”, she says as she turns to the pack of smokes in her rolled up shirt sleeve.  “Hell, people already think I am a butch lesbian when they see me, so I guess it’s not a far cry”, she stops for a moment to light a cigarette.  Now talking through her pinched lips holding it, she draws her brow with head forward eyes looking down and to the side at me.  “I know how you feel about so much, and well… I know a bit more than most about you.  Some days it makes me wish you were a guy, or that I liked girls too because we’d make a good couple”, she finishes.  “I know what you mean”, I retort with my face now turned down with cheeks warm from blushing.  She reaches out to me after stowing her cigarettes and lighter, and puts her hand under my chin lifting my face towards her.  As she does I feel my heart skip a beat and then accelerate its rate.  “I am so surprised someone hasn’t fallen head over heels for you.  You’re the nicest, cutest girl I have met that doesn’t have people beating down her door for a date”, she confesses as she stares deeply into my eyes further making my heart race.

I don’t know if I love her, but I know it’s been so long since I have been touched. In that way, any human contact feels as if I am being liberated at little, at least for a moment.  It’s good to be touched… It happens far to little for my liking.  My intuition tells me that there is romantic inklings in her heart for me, and that she loves me dearly but that is all she will let be for now.  “I’ll swear, Vic, if you were a boy you’d be the one who’d fall for any ol’ dopey eye girl who laid their eyes upon you, and with your looks you could get away with it”, I retort.  It’s not like my life is bad, but I sacrificed so much of my personal life for a decade of bodily havoc I called shift work in which I had little interpersonal contact over long periods.  When you travel to other countries so often it just happens.  I made that sacrifice to then suffer from an unknown illness, to which I lost that job and then end up being mostly alone for 3 years.  I am strong, but human, and it takes it toll eventually.  Craving human touch is not a good place to be, not for me… not for anyone, but especially being one who craves it a lot.  I am not a sexual person, kind of that quite hopeless romantic wallflower girl.

“What am I saying” she chuckles, dropping her hand to her side and tapping her cigarette with the index finger, “No wonder people always think we are an item when I treat you how I do.”   She tucks her hand in her pocket still puffing her addiction with the left, but I can still feel her warm touch on my cheek and it makes me quiver a bit.  “There are days this year I have missed the old times, back up at work and all”, I say as my voice trails off from turning my head towards the ground looking at the gaps in the cinder-block that are letting the cold air permeate towards me.  “A brain dead lunatic could still see that you got a shitty lot out of that whole thing, and to be honest I miss getting to see you at work everyday”, as she breathes deeply, “But at least they pay you for it now.”  “Yeah, thank God  for small miracles”, I say thinking about how many people like me got much worse for their suffering.  It’s also an archaic statement for me as I don‘t believe in a personal God, or a deity in general.  “Especially, if that one doctor was right about the adverse side effects of that one drug you had to take as the cause”, she states nodding her head while flicking off ashes and leaning forward then returning to her relaxed leaning position.

“So really, what is going on”, she re-engages.  She is always persistent when she perceives that something is going on, and she knows me so well it’s easy for people to mistake us for a couple when they hear us talk.  “I have been seeing some weird stuff lately”, I retort quietly hoping she doesn’t hear, “… like today especially… It’s nothing though… never-mind.”  “What?!  Like hallucinations or something”, she says then taking a long strong puff of her smoke.  “I have been seeing this blue water, it’s everywhere, and when I do time stops… I feel this weird pressure, and I feel like I have been there many times before.  Like throughout my life.  I feel something calling me”, I speak to the ground shuffling my feet, “It’s cold, and a little scary.  I have dreamed about it, and in the dreams I see a dark cool blue abyss in the distance and I feel it pulling on me.  It confuses me, but something on the other side is welcoming me, calling to me.  Every time it happens I loose or gain time.  Sometimes minutes, once I gain 4 hours.”  Upon finishing I drink my beverage causing me to start to feel more cold than I was.  She stops smoking and begins to choke on the smoke with a slightly shocked look on her face and a slight tremble in her hand.

“You what!?”, she shrieks from while still trying to catch her breath again.  “It is like the world is frozen in an ocean”, I turn my eyes up to her, with head still down, “And it feels like dying and rebirth all at the same time.”  She finishes coughing, and wafting the smoke from her eyes with her hand.  Her face screams “No way”, while her mouth says calmly “That is…  odd.”  Her eyes suspiciously wander off while she appears to be in deep thought about my confession.

She takes two or three deep breaths, and states, “Well, I could see where that would be a little…(pauses momentarily coughing lightly)… unsettling.”  She then mumbles something indiscernibly to me under her breath.  She stares off into the distance lost in thought, with the remnants of the shocked expression finally starting to fade from her face.   “You are indeed a rare bird”, she says puffing smoke towards me then quickly wafting it away from me.  “If you only knew what some of the outlandish things you said really meant”, she murmurs quietly.

“What do you mean?”, I chirp in my inquisitive voice.

“Nothing…It’s… it’s nothing” she replies quickly and averts her eyes from mine to avoid my question.  I move my straw out of the way and down the rest of my daiquiri which chills me to the point I really cold now.  The heater is insufficient to stave off the cold and I begin to chatter my teeth and shiver.  She grabs me by the shoulders and rubs my arms and says, “Lets go back to where it’s warmer”.  She then directs me through the door while stomping out her cigarette butt on the ground and pops me on the butt lightly, surprising me a little.  I start walking back to the table where our other friends are sitting, and she grabs my arm and pulls me back to the bar.

“Where do you think you’re going babe?”, she inquires as she winks at me with a little smirk.  She pulls me close and hoists me up onto a stool in a gentlemanly manner, then takes a seat next to me.  She stares intently and Bob, waiting to catch his gaze while passively looking back at my face now in a full grin.  Bob sees her watching him intently, and like any good barkeeper grabs a damp, clean rag and wipes down the bar in front of us asking, “What would you two ladies like?”  I stare at him blankly and indecisively, but Vic quickly chimes in with all the sexiness she can pack into her voice…  “Two rounds of salt and pepper, please”, she spouts out with a huge smile on her face.  And just as the bar tender starts to turn she catches him, “Actually, scratch that… Double it”.  “Gladly”, he replies now smirking himself.  Salt and pepper is 2 X 1.5oz shots, one of a peppermint schnapps and Jagermeister “house special blend” and the other of a lime tequila with salt on the glass (this bar special).   He quickly grabs a brown bottle with mint leave embossed on the side then pours the dark syrupy concoction in 4 shot glasses all the way to lip, which in this bar is actually almost two shots in themselves when filled the way Bob always does.  He then does the same in a methodical manner to the four other shot glasses only this time with a greenish-yellow, thinner and bitter smelling liquid.  He picks them up off the back bar intricately placing them on a round brown serving tray.  I’d honestly never drink the stuff on my own, but apparently it’s a bar favorite invented by Vic and Bob.

He walks back over to us with an even bigger grin on his face than before, and I start to get the feeling the joke is on me, and they are both smiling because they both know it.  He sets two of each shot in front of us, and Vic quickly slips the bartender her debit card, and the tender turns to his touch screen register while swiping the card against the reader on the side.  He quickly pushes a couple of buttons and turns back to Victoria with the card in hand, and a cab card underneath it.  “You two girls be safe okay?”, the barkeeper implies responsibly.  Vic quickly responds, “Of coarse, come on!  Who else could she be safer with than me, I can beat up everyone in this bar with a toothpick!”  “That’s what I am afraid of Vicky, and I keep my eye on you”, the bar tender pokes jokingly at her and they both begin to laugh.  Vic turns to me and says, “Bottoms up girly!”  She first demonstrates the right way to do the shots by drinking the tequila stuff first, then the peppermint, black syrupy stuff.

As she does so she shakes her head and make a satisfied sounding gasping sound while slamming the empty glass onto the rubber mat upside down.  So I grab the first shot, and drink it fast.  I then quickly do the second shot to wash the lime tequila away.  It tastes very strong like licorice, burning, minty cough syrup, however it only makes the burn of the earlier shot hurt that much more, though it does get rid of the other flavor.  “OH GOD!”, I gasp coughing and choking on my saliva.  “You trying to kill me Vic?”, I speak brokenly trying to talk between coughs.  “It’s good stuff.  It’s put hair on your chest”, Vic responds cordially and proudly.   “I don’t want hair on my chest, for God’s sake”, and I then continue coughing aloud.  “Come on! We still have two more”, Vic boasts with shot in hand and chest pushed out.  “Dear lord, you actually wanted me to do that twice”, you say as you cough up a lung then desist the coughing.  “Okay”, you submit as you see at least 10 people watching you as they do when they suspect you are really a couple in secret.  I do it again, though this time it doesn’t seem to burn as much.  The flavor must have been dampened by the burn of the first two.  You let out a slight cough or two after finishing the second assault on your taste buds and esophagus.

“Oh my god, that hurts so bad.  How do you do shit like that?”, you squelch barely intelligible to Vic.  “Shit, I could do that 10 more times”, she retorts once again with pride filling her chest, “You should try… (uncomfortable pause) uh… Never mind…  it’s not a big deal.”  Like a man and his male compatriot at the bar would do she slaps my back jovially while giggling submitting you to another minute bout of coughing.  “Now I know why your nickname is Vic”, you squeak trying to breathe.  She chuckles like Santa Clause would if he just drank a fifth of Whiskey.  “Man, this girl is something else”, you think to yourself.  She could drink any normal man under the table 10 times over, but she has my head floating after just a couple of shots that are no more than a warm-up for her.  “Is it metabolism, or just insanity”, I ask her to which she replies, “What?  Ha ha!”  I can’t tell at this point in time… my head is floating around the room in a pleasant, calm daze, and I’d have to say… I feel pretty good.   Vic talks to the bartender for like 10 or 15 minutes about something as I pitch myself around to look at the mostly empty sports room.  After she finishes she looks at me like it’s time to go back out for a smoke.  I try to get up from the stool to go to the patio, and realize just how drunk I am.  Then suddenly I see the floor turning into water in front of me and I unfortunately put my foot in it.  As my foot falls into it, and I fall forward I feel Vic’s hand pulling and tugging at my upper arm and for a moment my face dips in and it’s just like my dream all over again, only this time I feel the pull more than ever.   But just a soon as I fall I feel her pull me back, and she drags me up and into her warm embrace.  She clutches me tightly against her warm chest, and I can feel her breasts, and firm muscles underneath her clothing against my body as she clutches me.

She continues to clutch me for a moment longer holding me tightly as if she were afraid to let go.  “Don’t scare me like that girl”, she says into my ear as she props me back on my own two feet.  The bar tender only saw me fall a little, and seems concerned but normal, but Vic looks panicked.

After sitting down for another 15 minutes, and noticing how drunk I am she decides it’s time to take me home.  She wraps her arm around me and escorts me to the door.  She seems to be totally and completely sober to me, but I don’t know if I’d be a good judge of that right now.  Through my slightly blurry vision I squint my eyes at my watch, 11:01pm.  She realizes she is too much taller than me, and decides that appearances are moot at this point.  She picks me up cradling me in her arms, like newlyweds.  I look up at her drunkenly and say, “Gonna take me o’er the threshold baby?”.   “Stop saying shit like that, or people are going to think we really are a lesbian couple”, as she grunts a little bit trying to push the door open with her butt.  I, of course, giggle hysterically at her and all she can do is look at me cradled in her arms with a big ass smile on her face while saying, “Geez, you are such a light-weight.”  She opens the doors with her key-less entry switch, which on her SUV actually opens the door too, and tucks me inside fastening the seat-belt around me.  She rounds the front of her muddy, 5-mile-to-the-gallon SUV and hops in the driver’s seat.  Still giggling to her squeeze out, “You love me, don’t you?”  She just pats me on the head and ruffles my hair, “Of coarse I do babe!  You are such a silly little thing aren’t you.”  I nod my head back in my the cute, puerile way I usually do.

I am just about as blissed-out by this whole experience as I could be.  My head feels like gelatin on my neck, and I keep dozing off during the ride home.  I have drunk that stuff before I think, if it’s the stuff I think it is, but for some reason I was a total light weight tonight, more so than normal.  Oh yeah, I didn’t have time for dinner, so that could be it.  I at this moment finally recall that we did two rounds, sort of foggily remembering she asked for another batch of something right after.  Yet, somehow, Vic seemed to be bothered by something else.  She kept looking around expecting something to happen.  I’d seen her like this before, but never for the reasons of me being drunk.  She was looking around for signs of something, constantly looking around in with a little anxiety.  She had a tendency to push my tolerance a little too hard when we were out somewhere, but she always took care of me when she did.  Perhaps she just thought seeing me sloppy drunk was funny, maybe it was something else.   Either way she was being supportive but was acting really suspicious.  “Hey, Anna, I’ll wake you up tomorrow for your flight since I got you all trashed and shit”, she says to me at a red light.  All I can do is give her my sloppy, wobbly thumbs up and say, “Okay, sweets!”  Momentarily the fear and suspicion leaves her eyes, and she smiles at me in her usual warm way while looking into my eyes with red light then going green glowing gently on her face.

I look at the equalizer visualization of music chiming in the background on the radio display, and wonder to myself why she looks so calm, and happy when she looks at my face, or into my eyes as she does…  I guess a small part of me can’t help but hope for more in that gaze of hers, but much of my love life has been met with rejection, or blood sucking vampires of partners who did little more than take advantage of me.  I think to myself about them and wish that I could find that one true romance, and wish for a love to come along and just wash my pain away.  Vic knows this about me, and so much more that I’d never tell anyone else under any circumstance.  Not that I hide it either, it’s just something very personal to me, and only the people closest to me know.

At this moment I am distracted by something weird and familiar out the window.  The sky is turning into watery blue again.  I squeal in excitement, “Lookie, lookie, the sky is turning into water again”, and I finish with a euphoric giggle.  If she didn’t look panicked before, she does now.  “I don’t see anything, there is nothing there”, she jitters in retort and steps on the gas so hard that I am throttled back to the seat from my slouched, leaned forward position.  I can feel the engine’s powerful revolutions and the rumble like the earth was moving beneath me.  I feel sleepy and suddenly I pass out.

Next thing I remember I was being hoisted out of the SUV, up a flight of stairs, and through my door way.  I opened my eyes to the room spinning with lovely Victoria lowering me into my bed with the hallway light on, shining lightly into my doorway to my bed.  “You just stay put”, Vic says sternly.  “Where would I go”, I ask her.  She smiles once again, and kisses me lightly on the cheek in an almost motherly way.  I was so drunk at this point that I couldn’t remember if she kissed me on the cheek.  I may wish subconsciously it would have been somewhere else, but I remembered rolling over onto my side, face pressed against my comfortably chilled pillow.  I heard the cat meow and purr simultaneously as she curled up next to me.  I hear it as Vic lets herself out then her shoving my keys back through the mail slot.  The room was spinning a bit like it was shaking at this point but I didn’t care.  I fell asleep as Starlight moved and curled up in a ball behind the nape of my knees as always.  What the heck just happened tonight…  I was exhausted and curious at the same time.  The alcohol spoke louder than my will, and I closed my eyes and returned to sleep now.