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The Mattress

My head is spinning. I feel like I've been kicked by a horse. Twice. I don't remember where I am, or how I got here. Everything's so bright, it hurts my eyes. I close them, but the light spots are still there. It's hard for me to breathe, so I inhale softly, trying to soothe my breathing. I'm lying down, on something soft, but I have no idea what it could be; light's too bright, I can't see a thing. So I try t o listen to my surroundings. Silence. I can't hear anything. I don't feel anyone.

My body aches. I think.I don't remember what happened last night. Just that I was in a bar. And that the girl with the red dress was staring at me again. She looked like someone I used to know, that's why I invited her a drink once. I think she really likes me. But I wasn't looking for anything at that moment. I don't think I'll be looking for anything or anyone for a while.

I remember her face. And I get angry at myself for starting to lose it. But the girl's still there, and she's smiling at me. I don't return the smile, so she drops her eyes, ashamed.

I remember the time when I was with her. Her smile was the prettiest smile in the universe. But it's slipping away from my memories. When was the last time I saw her? I don't know anymore. All of our pictures were lost in the journey. I had one in my wallet, but a drunk man stole it from me. There were just twenty dollars in it. And the picture. That hurt.

I don't remember clearly what happened to her, just that one day she was gone. And I was angry at her, for not having told me she was leaving. And at myself, for not having known what she was thinking, to be able to stop her.

The mattress I'm lying over –I think it's a mattress, it feels like its one- sinks under the pressure of a new being.

Vanilla. And cherries.

“Sophie,” the word comes out of my mouth in an exhale.

“Here I am, Ethan,” she says. “Open your eyes, the light from the headlights won't bother you anymore.”

Sophie was right, the light was gone. But I opened my eyes too quickly, they were burning. The memories just kept slipping away. Her eyes. Her most beautiful characteristic. They were green like marijuana, she said. The memories were starting to come back. And her smile was just like I remembered it. It had been to long since I had last seen her.

“When did you come back?" I asked her.

“I didn't come back, you found me.”

I had been thinking about her last night, maybe in my state of intoxication I had found her somehow.

“How long ago did I get here? How did I get here?” The answers to these questions kept avoiding me.

“You didn't get here yet. But don't worry about that now. We have some more time.”

I didn't understand what she'd meant, but I didn' t ask her anything else either. The only thing that mattered to me was that I could finally see her. And talk to her. And...

I reached out with my hand and brushed it against hers. Her skin was warm and soft. Sophie closed her eyes to my touch. Her breathing was becoming heavier, as I traced her curves with my fingers. My heart exploded with happiness, and the lust lost in the way had learned to use its map to get back to me again.

I quickly got up, sitting beside her. I brought her closer to me, and she held me with her doll-like arms. I kissed her neck, just below her ear. I could feel her heart beating just as fast as mine. She let out a sigh of desire. She kissed me under my chin.

With one of my hands I brushed one of her breasts.

And we lost ourselves in one another. Once more.

Lying on the mattress. We stared at the ceiling that wasn't there. No walls no windows no doors. Nothing. The mattress, white, was still there.

White. The lights. They were shinning with more intensity than before, I rolled over, my face over the mattress.

“What is this place? Where are we?”

“We're everywhere, and nowhere,” she simply responded.

My heart was starting to fail. I felt an itch, the echo of something more. I brought my hand up to my chest, the itch persisted.

“Again, higher,” the voice came from not so far away.

Fearing that the intensity of the light could hurt my eyes, I asked Sophie where that sound came from.

“You can look, the light cannot hurt you.”

Sophie had never lied to me before, but after having gone like that, I wasn't sure if I should believe her or not. I decided to listen to her, just so I wouldn't offend her. Slowly, I rolled back over myself, on the mattress, and I opened my eyes. As usual, she was right.

And my heart was aching.

“Why did you leave without letting me know? Why didn't you call me, or leave me a note?”

Sophie had always been a very forward woman, so she didn't look down when she answered me.

“I didn't know what to say to you, or how you were going to take it. I knew I had to leave and that you would try to stop me. Even if I had explained to you the reasons for my departure a thousand times, you wouldn't have understood me. And don't tell me it's not like that,” she added when she saw me open my mouth to reply, "Because I know you. I had to leave on my own, without anyone trying to persuade me to stay.” She frowned, getting upset. “I couldn't take it anymore, E. Do you get it? It was too much.”

Of course I understood her. I felt the same thing.

I nodded, and she replied by doing the same gesture.

“You still don't know where we are, do you?” she asked me.

I shook my head in denial, from one side to the other.

“We're in the hospital, see?” she said pointing to a group of doctors that surrounded a patient. They looked pretty busy, trying to save that stranger. The man in question was really bruised, covered in blood.

“What happened to him?” I asked Sophie.

“A driver didn't see him, and he ran over him.” The tone of her voice sounded just like if I had just asked her the time.

“Do you know what you're going to do?” she asked.

“With what?”

“Look at that man a little closer. Doesn't he look familiar?”He did look like someone I knew, I just couldn't remember from where.

“It's you, E. That man is you."

I leaned over the doctor that was bent over the man.

“Hmm, yeah. I think I knew it from a start. It doesn't surprise me."

“Now you remember what happened last night?” Sophie asked me.

“Yes, I remember now,” I breathed. The memories were coming back to me in a battalion, fighting amongst themselves. Wanting to come first. My mind spun again.

The lights from the hospital -or the headlights?- blinded me. Everything my body received, I could feel too.

“There's still a connection between both. It's up to you to go back or not,” she told me, looking at me in the eyes.

“What would happen if I chose to stay?”

“If that were your choice, you'd be with me. And this time I wouldn't go anywhere. I'm right where I wanna be.” She smiled at me. Inviting me to stay.

The doctors were still fighting to rescue the ruins of my body. Suddenly, there was nothing more to be done.

I turned to look at Sophie, who smiled, guessing my decision.

She took me by the hand, and together we flew away.

Far away.

Ella Press

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