I wonder if I leave a body behind. In my mind, I imagine Will and Robert burying my remains, carefully so they don’t catch the plague from my lifeless body.
I don’t want to be added to the pile of unnamed dead in Will’s hastily dug ditch more than six hundred years ago. Maybe I vanish like I appear. I prefer that idea, but worry it might bother Will. Like I never existed in the first place. I don’t like that idea after all.
This is what I’m thinking as I sit in the doctor’s office staring blankly at the art on the wall, my fingers worrying the fabric on the arms of my chair. The picture is beginning to freak me out. The impression of a landscape has a skeleton in the centre made to look like a live horse. Is it meant to be real or dead? I can’t drag my eyes away.
“When did this first occur?” the doctor asks.
“She was ten,” Mum says from her chair next to mine. Her foot taps the carpet making me grit my teeth.
“Eleven. It was my eleventh birthday,” I correct.
The conversation continues as if I never spoke. I’m not even in the room. I’m in a halfway place with the skeleton horse. Breathing is becoming difficult. I think I want my body to have vanished. I don’t want to be another nameless pile of bones in a trench by a village church. I was there, wasn’t I? It was so real.
The doctor studies the pages in front of him. There’s something wrong with me. I don’t fit in. No one likes me. I’m sad, all the time when I’m not with Will. Tell me why I am so different from everyone around me. Tell me what is wrong with me as a person.
I don’t say these things out loud. The doctor and Mum aren’t interested. They’re looking for something they can see, something that can be fixed.
“This is the third time this has happened?” The doctor’s pen hovers over his note pad.
“No,” I say at the same time.
I probably should keep my mouth shut so I’m not asked to explain, but I’m frustrated with being ignored. This is me they’re talking about. I’m not invisible. I’m here.
“No?” the doctor repeats.
“Stop being difficult, Lucy.” Mum turns to address the doctor. “Lucy has difficulty differentiating between reality and fantasy. After the first time she ended up in hospital, she told me a wild story about how she’d been living in Africa with a bunch of cavemen!”
I didn’t think she remembered that. I fold my arms across my chest and glare at her. At least it’s taken my eyes off the skeleton horse picture.
“So where were you this time, hanging out with the dinosaurs?”
“Like you care,” I throw back at her.
“I think we are getting a little off topic here. There have been studies of people in comas living entirely different lives in their heads, but Lucy wasn’t technically in a coma. She was asleep.” The doctor shuffles his paperwork before looking up at us.
“Isn’t there some sort of medication you can give her?” Mum asks.
“There is nothing to medicate. All her tests came back fine. I’ll give you a referral to a neurosurgeon, but there will be a wait for an appointment. They’re always extremely busy and Lucy’s condition is not affecting her adversely.”
The doctor types out the referral, prints it and slides it across to Mum who dabs her eyes with a tissue from the box on his desk. He glances at the door. I take the hint and stand. Mum continues to sit for a few more moments, reluctant to leave. She wants to fix me, but she can’t see that part of me is not broken. I don’t want my ‘dreams’ to be fixed. It’s the only way I can see Will.
If I Wake is written by Nikki Moyes.