You are barely conscious of your own actions, constantly zoning out, but you are aware of Amy in the corner, squirming and not seeming to enjoy herself. You suggest going outside, reminding everyone to wear their jackets and put on some boots because it is cold out.
Everything is white. It blinds your eyes. You’ve been inside all day and the sun on the cold icy snow is different and almost a relief. The fresh piercing air slowly saturates your blood cells.
“Let’s go get soap.”
You head over to the convenience store down the block with your two little buddies, following behind them. You can’t concentrate so you go inside yourself and dream. You look down at your feet and while watching them move, left right left right, you are transported to a different dimension. Suddenly there’s a jingling of bells and you open the door to the convenience store. Amy and Justin are already bending down, scanning the shelves. You stand around but too many colors and sense assault you. The guy behind the counter is staring at you, or maybe he isn’t. You realize you are blocking the entrance and join your friends in the search for soap.
“I can’t find it.” “Me neither.” “What about you, Kaitlin?” “Nope.”
All three of you exit. You’ve caused enough ruckus in that little store. On your walk back you come across a little picnic table underneath a gazebo. Your companions decide to sit down. You can’t even think of a response so you join them.
“It’s cold.” “I’m hungry.”
You’re lost in your mind and inside it Amy is crying. She’s mumbling something but you can’t understand her through her sobs and tears, eyes shut. You stumble and open your eyes to find yourself back in your room. You’re getting a hat because it is cold outside but your stiff arms aren’t being relayed the message to pick up your black knit hat so Justin is picking it up for you. He places it in your hands and you hold it, glancing at it. What do you do now? You hold it tight with both hands and then slowly fit the cap around your ears and then trudge back out the door.
You open your eyes to be blinded by the snow again. Your butt is cold but not a wet kind of cold. The chilly air and blowing against your one-layer jean-covered ass and you can see the picnic bench between your thighs. You are where you were a few minutes ago. You look up to Amy and find a half-empty bag of cookies in her hand. You don’t remember ever buying cookies. You see a hat on Justin’s head. Slowly, you reach up and feel your own head, only to find your black knit hat instead of your soft hair. You don’t remember walking to your room to get your hat, only the hazy dream that happened eons ago. Perhaps this is the dream.
You grab your hat, confused. Justin and Amy laugh, amused. Amy offers you a cookie and you eat one. Then two more. Amy’s crying again and she’s asking for Ryan’s number because there’s something wrong with you or you’re locked out of your apartment, you can’t figure out which. Regardless you try to open your phone but the screen stares blankly back at you and you don’t understand numbers or letters. Something about being outside is throwing you off. You don’t understand how you wound up out here. Have you been outside this whole time? Perhaps inside instead. Both?
“Oh I get it. We’re outside now.” “We’ve been outside.” “Yes, but we were inside and then outside.” “We haven’t been inside. We’ve been outside.” “But we were just inside. Now we’re outside.” “That was 15 minutes ago.”
You’re on the steps now, utterly confused. Amy is hysterical, trying to make you understand that you’ve been outside for 24 hours in the bitter cold, away for a very long time and you’ve only gotten back and that you haven’t been inside and now you’re finally going inside. You don’t understand. It’s too confusing. You just see Amy crying and you want to console her so you try to understand what is wrong. You see the door and you stand there while Justin and Amy stand there with you. A few minutes pass, then Justin reaches for your key just as you realize what you need to do. You reach for the key and unlock the door, letting all three of you inside. Innocent bystanders watch, amused.
Your hat is off, your boots and jackets are on the floor and Justin sits you on a chair. He tells you you’re inside now and suddenly you remember a voice asking for the password to your computer. They laugh and tell you that happened ages ago. You only remember it being a few minutes. Perhaps years have gone by. You realize you have screwed something up and you hope to undo it. You want to call Ryan. Perhaps he can help Amy. You pull out your phone but somewhere along the way you dropped it and now the screen is scratched and dirty, covered in mud. It doesn’t work. You don’t know what to do. You turn backwards, thinking of a tape recorder. Perhaps, if you do the same and rewind, you can go back to hours and hours ago. The world will go backwards and then you can move forward again, making sense of everything.
Suddenly you feel very very soft. Your bones, holding you together, have turned to mush. There’s stitching around your fingertips, keeping the fuzz inside. Everything you touch is soft, bendable, even the wooden furniture. How did everything become like this? You open your eyes and find yourself lying on a very soft comforter. The material reminds you of the stitches and you see yourself turning, turning, rewinding back in time but the room around you is only becoming smaller and smaller. You’ve become lost in this game and you can’t find a way out. You’re slowly being sucked into the end of the tape and you try to stop but you’ve let yourself rewind too far. Your phone is broken and it is the only way back. Your battery is dead.
You see Justin sitting in a chair. You run to him. Then you turn around and see Amy sitting on the other side and you run to her. You don’t know who to go to, but you know Amy needs to be comforted. You blabber and she stares at you, confused and worried. You are the one who needs to be comforted.