Body (or, What could be)

Her back hurt from all the contractions. The muscles in her thighs felt like she’d been climbing flight after flight after flight of stairs. Tomorrow, the cramps would begin.

She sat before the screen, refusing to pay attention to the pain. It was easy when she had people to talk to, conversations she had to pay attention to. Something else to focus on. Uploading stuff, downloading, searching. Organising. They all took her mind off things, but conversations were the best. They needed real focus, because they had a way of jumping from one topic to the other. They occupied all of her mind. Writing was next best, but it was self-propelled, so the temptation to stop and feel was too strong for comfort.

More and more, these days, she was tempted to stop. Just stop. And give in to her brain. To the luxury of letting it play with time. To let her memory compress it, make hours seem like much less, sometimes so much less that they ceased to exist. Prolong it, and make a second’s meeting of eyes seem like a long friendship.

Would the pain stop if she let that happen, she wondered. The sharp shooting pain up her neck into her skull, the nerves bunched up and stretched taut, and suddenly relaxing, making her wonder whether she had imagined it. If she gave in to her brain, would she be able to sleep and wake up rested? Without a headache?

She knew the pills helped. Helped her bear the pain in her back, in her legs, and tomorrow, the cramps. And then the other pills made sure the pain didn’t stress out her brain. Didn’t make the headache worse. Or Worse. Pills kept her in control, didn’t let her brain take over.

Kept her mind safe from her body.


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