In the morning, you have to work. I follow you. To your office job that you used to love. It used to bring you joy to go here, with your friends' smiling faces. But you don't smile anymore. Pain mixes with confusion. You can't remember how you get your scars. You can't remember waking up in my world or Hers. But you keep getting hurt.
On your way back out, Shirley stops you. She is worried. What happened? She asks. How did you get that bruise? Did someone hit you? You tell her no. She presses further. Something has happened at home, she insists. You simply turn your back, tell her you live alone, Shirley, you live alone. And you keep walking.
When you get home, you collapse into bed. You're tired, always tired. When you sleep, you move to my world, or even Hers. You don't sleep well. I watch in silence for a moment until your breathing evens out. I close my eyes, drift between worlds.
Heat. An intense heat brings me out of my slumber. She is here. It shouldn't be. She shouldn't be able to reach us. But She has. You have shown her the way. You move into the bathroom, checking the new marks I have made. I shield you from her, but she simply stands there. Her hair is a fire red that matches Her dress, Her eyes a bright green, Her skin a dark olive.
She doesn't leave. She simply stands there. But when She moves closer, I am forced to move away. We circle the room until the bathroom door is on my left and She stands in front of your bed. I have to get Her to leave. If she doesn’t -
The bathroom door opens. You step out. You freeze. Your eyes widen. In just that moment, I know.
You can see us.
You can't move, legs refusing to work. Who - Who are we? You ask. But we can't answer. We don't need to. All at once, memories come rushing back to you. You hold onto your head, fall to your knees. It hurts. You remember all the pain I've caused you, all the times I've marked you. When you can open your eyes again, you look at me in fear, utter terror, hatred, anger. I start to move towards you and you cower, closer to Her. Her heat draws your eyes and you marvel at her. You remember seeing her, but she has never touched you, stopped you, hurt you.
She calls out to you, holds out her hand, but all you hear is wind. You stare at Her, try to understand, but you can't. Her hand beckons to you, but the heat keeps you away. I drift closer, but then you do it.
You reach out to her.
You take her hand.
The heat burns you as you get closer but once your skin touches Hers, you understand. She is not intense heat. She is warmth, compassion, feeling.
She is Life.
And I . . . I am banished to drift between worlds. I cannot go home. There is nothing there. There was only you. And She has taken you from me . . . once again.