Friday, December 26, 2014

Chapter 49

Graham returned to his room, undressed, brushed his teeth, and lay down on his cot.  He forgot to turn out the light in the bathroom, but could not muster the energy to get up and switch it off.  He lay there silently, staring at the ceiling, his arms rigid at his sides.  His thoughts ran in circles through his head.  He could not catch a hold of any one thought, however, before another tumbled forth, and then another and another:  Peggy Lee’s face, skeletal children dying of thirst, the blackened battery room, his own sorry existence at headquarters, the kiss, waterfalls, the future, the past, the end of life, and then back to Peggy Lee – and those perfect eyes that might possibly contain the entire universe.  His brain was like a carousel that was stuck in high gear – spinning too fast, the music too loud.  He couldn’t focus – even for a single second.  He desperately wanted to fall asleep; maybe in the morning, things would not look so bad.  But his heart was racing, and he was sweating all over.  He was dizzy and sick.  He thought about getting outside, to move and walk on the adjacent island, but he found that he was paralyzed in his cot. 
Eventually, somehow, he slept – a dreamless, lifeless sleep as if his soul had collapsed, as if a coma was the only appropriate state of being, the only safe place.  The following morning, he could not remember falling asleep.  He just recalled the light from the bathroom on the ceiling – a flat, angry rectangle cutting into the darkness.
He skipped breakfast, choosing instead to wait quietly in his room for their departure from the Platform.  He knew Charley would load the prisoners onto the boat and take care of the other logistics. 
He felt odd – like someone else had taken control of his body . . . and his mind.  He needed to be alone.  He needed to wake up a bit, shake off the events of the preceding night before he saw anyone else.  He showered, but forgot to wash his hair.  He walked out of the shower; he walked back into the shower.  He felt numb all over as he dried off. 
Sitting on the toilet, his feet fell asleep.  He realized that he had been staring blankly ahead and smelling his own shit for what seemed like hours.  If it had not been for the tingling in his feet, he did not know how long he would have remained there.  An empty feeling rolled slowly over him back and forth like a rolling pin, pressing and squeezing him.  He wiped his ass and mechanically moved his toes up and down until the blood returned.  He rose, pulled up his pants, took a couple of steps, and sat down on the minimalist office chair next to the bed. 
His thoughts now swirled around Peggy Lee.  He knew that he loved her; he would always love her, but now he could never have her.  He could never truly be with her.  He would have to testify against her.  The whole pathetic tale would come out; Ian would see to that.  Investigators would ask him about his relationship with Peggy Lee, the set-up, and then the attack.  He knew that even after all of that, he would still want to be with her.  And what would be her reaction?  Anger?  Pity?  It didn’t really matter.  He knew that, even if a relationship was somehow possible, she could not be with him.  They were both too broken now.

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