I started to feel sick on Saturday afternoon.
It was a beautiful day. Warm, sunny, blue skies and everything you could want from a Spring day.
I could feel the fever creeping on. That warmth that began internally, radiating more than the sun. Cold sweats. Thirst.
I was shaking and I swear I could smell the last ten seconds of my life.
At home I curled up on the floor of the shower and let cold water run over me.
My insides were burning. A small sun was going supernova in my brain.
All I saw was white light through strikes of pain.
Worse than the pain was the fear that took over.
The fear that nothing was as it seemed. My hands looked foreign, like they were someone else’s hands attached to my arms.
My skin felt like a blanket of oil. Slick, repelling the water.
I began to tear at it.
The pain felt good. Seeing my blood felt good. A reminder of the humanity that was being pulled, stolen, from me. It wasn’t my skin, they weren’t my hands, but it was still me, still my body.
I tore and tore at myself until I was too tired to move.
I began to hear voices, sounds. A hummingbird flying too close to my ear, sending waves of pressure through my skull. A wolf howling dropping my heart. A raven in the distance, its shadow overhead the smell of death. Someone was whispering for me to go to sleep, to close my eyes and relax, it’s only the beginning.
The sound of the water falling on me was starting to block out the pain and the world. The bathtub was becoming cooler and cooler and I tried to press myself against it as close as I could, trying to extinguish the fire raging inside.
It felt like a punch. A horse’s kick. Something strong and exact hit me in the back and then in the stomach, probably breaking my spleen.
Then it broke my knee.
I felt my bones twisting, breaking, stretching.
I couldn’t feel my left foot.
Something was stroking the back of my neck. Light fingers trying to calm me, someone cooing away my screams.
I felt shattered. Physically broken, emotionally crushed, but mentally aware and afraid.
My heart broke. I couldn’t stop my tears.
The cooing continued and I felt myself falling away.
I could see layer after layer of myself, my skin, my ego, my beliefs mixing with the water and running down the drain.
I wanted to close my eyes but fear wouldn’t let me.
The lights went out. It was a vibrant darkness. Alive.
Pain started again. But a comforting pain. I could feel my bones resetting, my skin growing, my blood flowing back into my body.
The cooing continued, the fingers on the back of my neck moved in slow circles.
The water began to fall slower, increase in heat.
I started to feel comfortable.
I pulled my legs to my chest, feeling the sun inside of me relax and smolder to a dull ache.
My heart skipped a beat.
My fever broke.
I pulled myself out of the shower and forced myself to look in the mirror.
I looked the same. I checked my body looking for new scars.
My hands were my own.
Looking back into the mirror my eyes startled me. They were a green I had never seen before. The green of raging storms at sea, of the thickest rain forest.
I looked the same but my eyes betrayed me.