I sat in the wooden desk, running my hands over the grainy lines. The table top was attached to the back of the chair and I felt locked in like a roller coaster. My eyelids grew heavy and hung low like the thick curtains in my grandma's house. They were long dark curtains that each weighed as much as me. My grandma hated the sunlight and attempted to shade her living room enough block it out. She wore sunglasses when she went outside. When I was little I had thought she was a vampire. Now I mainly thought she just was from Alaska and that's what she was used to: darkness. Could one become accustomed to other types of darkness besides lack of sunlight? Could one become accustomed to being shrouded in emotional darkness, heavy curtains cloaking the windows of the mind? Could darkness of the heart just become another thing I was used to, like brushing my teeth and having to sit by Peter on the bus, just part of my routine, part of my identity to be in the dark?
My eyes fell shut and my chin dropped to my chest. I knew I was falling asleep in class and would soon be scolded. I was aware of it as I slipped from consciousness but the thirty seconds of napping still sounded like it was worth it. I fell from reality, through the cracks in the classroom and retreated deep into my mind. There was a long hallway. My feet were bare but I was in jeans and a t-shirt, which is weird because I wore a dress that day to school. But the dreamers can wear whatever they want in their dreams. I could wear a bunny suit. I could make everyone else wear carrot suits. But there was no everyone else; I was alone.
At the end of the hall stood a man in a tuxedo. He wore a monacle and a top hat. I thought he was very pale and white at first and then I realized he had no face, that his top hat was levitating in the air and his monacle was resting on nothing. The white I thought was his skin tone was the wall behind him. I reached out to touch his face and my hand slid through where his head should have been. I waved my hand around like i was trying to feel the air. Accidentally bumping his monacle, I yelped and took a step back.
"Sorry for bumping your monacle on your lack of face," I said.
"Happens," said the man out of no mouth whatsoever.
"Do you know where we are?"
"Do you know what happens now?"
"What would you like to happen now?"
"I think I'd like to be held now," I said.
The man with no face nor head reached his arms around me. The tuxedo sleeves rubbed against my arms. His hands gently cradled my back. He pulled me in with a softness, not like he was trying to hurt me, but just like he was there and I was there and he was with me. I started crying thick sheets of tears, falling from me like a printer shooting out paper, page after page of the neverending novel love story that some author thought was really heartfelt and was actually just commonplace.
The tears fell hard from me, cascading down and soaking my t-shirt. How could there be that much salt water inside of my body? I wasn't a big woman and I didn't eat that much salt or even drink that much water. Yet my body continued to produce tears until I was shaking, throbbing with exhaustion. I laid down on the floor of the hallway, curled into the fetal position in a puddle of my own tears, and fell asleep. A teddy bear climbed up into my arms and I was okay with it. The man with the monocle and the top hat stood over me, watching quietly.