I’ve been asked what that nightmare is like. This picture is it.
It’s the realization that no, no one calls or texts that early without something in mind.
The realization that Yes, Virginia, someone you trusted did completely forget to do your taxes, someone you’d booked to do it months in advance, and now instead of getting a time frame and a concrete number of dollars you get “Do you have spares you can give me?”
It’s that insidious guilt trip you get for blowing off hanging out with someone who’s honestly been too toxic to deal with because this time you legitimately are too sick to do anything.
It’s needing to talk, but not knowing if you’ll stay conscious long enough to actually do it.
It’s the every two hours in and out when everyone leaves—or hangs up; it alternates—and the few seconds that I have of being awake and afraid of the realization it was empty in the first place, because I’m just sick and exhausted enough that I’m going to fall back into it right where it left off.
At 6:08 this morning I heard a chime. I should have known it was false when the table beneath made no noise.