I have to remember things carefully, because otherwise they will take over again, and nobody wants that.
I remember, years ago, before I learned so much of what I now know, wanting friends. I never got along with others, no matter how I tried, and I did try. Something they saw in me made me different in their eyes, even though when you're kids, everybody looks the same. I pitied myself then, not knowing there was strength in standing solitary, or a difference in loneliness and being alone.
I was alone for many years after that, and even after I learned the difference. It was during one night, only a few years ago now, when everything changed. I had a dream.
I'm always having dreams, and I have always been good at remembering them, how vivid they are and how vibrant everything is, but this one was different. The colors were different, but they still seemed right; the sky wasn't blue, but since it didn't feel strange that it wasn't blue, I didn't really take notice of what color it was.
I opened my eyes, and even though I was lying in my bed with my familiar room laid out around me as it was when I had closed them, I knew that I was asleep. I stood, dressed, and walked out of my house. Streetlights glowed more softly than they do here, alternating sides of the road that we lived on. I walked, and though nothing moved, I could feel time moving, slowly, steadily, and painlessly. The subdivision was shaded purple in the night, and I walked for a long time.
Eventually, I came to a house of someone I knew. It barely mattered who they were then, and it doesn't matter now at all. I walked up to the front step and opened the front door. Knowing the neighborhood and how doors were always bolted, I realized that all doors were open to me here. I climbed the stairs to their bedroom, even though I'd never been there, I knew exactly where it was. The hallway was lined with family photos, framed and hanging level. I opened the door to their bedroom, and the purple shading followed me inside.
I sat on their bed, beside their sleeping form. It was calm and peaceful. I felt myself smiling calmly, and reached out to touch them. Their skin was cold. Panicked, I started shaking them, the bed, the room. I was afraid that they would die, even though their identity and life in the waking world wouldn't have mattered much to me; they were just another face. Finally, they shifted, eyes opening as if for the first time seeing the world, and smiled at me.
I left then, as they reached out to my hand to thank me, and their fingers brushed against my skin, still cold. I think they called out to me, or maybe they didn't, but I heard words following me as I left. Thank you for waking me. I've been trapped in that place for so long. I forgot how to leave.
I walked further on into the dreamscape that night, but did eventually return to my home, my room, my own bed, lay down, and close my eyes. When I opened my eyes again, I was standing in the world anew, refreshed, awake, and better than I had felt in a long time.
When I walked into my high school, I caught myself smiling, without realizing I was smiling, without the ache in my cheeks when I force a smile for too long. Nobody looked at me, as they rarely do, but I heard their whispers. A student had died in the night, in their sleep, and the doctors could make no sense of it.
When I heard the name and the address, my knees grew weak. When I saw pictures of their hallway and bedroom, I stumbled. When someone reached out to catch me, I let them think that I was trying to hold back the tears, but inside, I was still smiling.
This piece is not technically another untitled piece. The title of this piece is "Untitled Controversial Fiction."