I don’t know why I took the pills.
It wasn’t smart. Just a moment of try-anything desperation, and a gulp of water, and two slightly luminous capsules the size of castor beans went sliding down my throat.
Half a second after I swallowed, I decided to put my finger down my throat. That was the sane thing. The only choice. Throw up. Throw up. THROW UP!
I wasn’t fast enough.
The room didn’t spin, and nothing went black. My vision didn’t even blur.
I was going to puke up those pills, and then, I was on the floor. The cold tile and the sound of lukewarm water still running in the sink. Yeah. I knew the old woman’s promises were lies. I probably knew the pills were a rip-off, too. After all, the damn things glowed like theater props in her hand, and nobody ever said what they were supposed to do. I was hoping for something—anything—but there I was, waking up. Painted horse tranquilizers. Maybe Nimbutal.
Six hundred dollars down the drain, all because some poverty stricken fortune teller reminded me of my grandmother.
I stayed where I was, and listened to the water run.
Thought about calling an ambulance.
But what was I going to say? Passed out for a while. No, I don’t know what I took. Feel better, now. Feel better than I have in a month. But, maybe check my blood pressure?
I got to my feet, and brushed off my bathrobe.
The clock on the counter said a barely-believable number. Time had passed, and lots of it.
If it was already evening, that was bad.
It wasn’t evening. The grinding progress of a garbage truck insisted it was morning.
And that meant I’d been unconscious for at least an entire day.
I’d have to be at work in a few hours, and for the first time in nine years, I wasn’t ready. The project I was working on wasn’t finished—not unless the pills had magical properties even the fortuneteller hadn’t predicted—and the company was relying on me. Failure was—
Not an option.
It was inevitable.
I was going to be fired, and the truth… Maybe the pills were working. Maybe they were–as advertised—resurrecting my true self.
Resurrecting? It had been so long I couldn’t remember for sure what my true self had been in the first place. I know people asked, once… what do you want to be when you grow up, little girl?
And I answered.
I must have answered.
But what I said?
I don’t remember.
My true self. Maybe I would have known, when I was eleven, and maybe… if I could remember… maybe knowing my true self would be enough to make me happy, or at least, to let me know where to look for happy.
I splashed some water on my face, and reached for a towel.
I couldn’t call in hung-over. I’d have to pull it together and make it through the day. I was a grown-up person, with a grown-up job, and after all, not everybody gets to be an astronaut when they grow up. Glowing pills. What was I thinking? I’d never go back to believing I could be a rock star, or a fire woman, or a sea captain. Whatever thing it was, I’d forgotten it for a reason. And a pirate? Why not just dream of being a serial killer? The only difference is a hat.
I threw the towel in the hamper.
Then, I looked in the mirror, and stopped breathing.
I leaned in to look at my own face—at my true self, a voice in the back of my head repeated, not quite mocking— just to be sure I wasn’t leaving for work with the imprint of a shoe or a wrist-watch on my face. The mirror stared back at me.
And there was nothing there.
Nothing left of my true self.
So, there you have it. Something I whipped up for your entertainment. Let me know what you think, and be sure you beat the hell out of those share buttons.