Sleepless, restless, useless, helpless, hopeless... just less
I wake up when I feel like someone is moving me. I have no idea what’s going on, so I try to get up but can’t. Unknown force is blocking me. When my eyes are used to the bright light, I realizes that I’m clutching Daryls shirt and he is looking me. I feel how my face is turning red. I’m half on his lap. From the corner of my eye I can see my bare thigh. I back away as quickly as I can. I’m so embarrassed. Daryl gets up and seems awkward. I have a feeling that this is all my fault.
‘’Ya had a nightmare’’, he says. Oh God, have I attacked him? I try hard to remember. I get a dim memory about crying and then it hits me. He woke me up and I just gripped his shirt and didn’t let go ‘cause I was so scared. The dream was awful. I can’t quite grasp what happened in the dream but I remember the horrible feeling I got from it.
‘’I’m so sorry’’, I say to him. Daryl straightens his wrinkled shirt. We fall in awkward silence. I get up and try to pull the shirt to cover my thighs. My face is on fire. I just hope that earth would swallow me. I notice that he is looking everywhere but me. This is so not cool. It’s hot in the tent. I’m sweating. I want to leave but I don’t want to move. I hear bird singing. It snaps me out of my trance.
‘’I should probably get my jeans. Are they outside..?’’, I say. Both of us head to the tent door.
‘’Yeah…’’, Daryl starts to say when I pump into him so hard that we both fall. Our legs get twisted around each others. When we are off with each other, we lie on the tent floor. I cover my face with my hand.
‘’Oh my God, I’m so embarrassing’’, I say out loud. I feel mortified. I take my hand of my face and look the man beside me. He is silent and scratching his jaw. He seems distant.
‘’How’re feeling?’’, Daryl asks. I think about it awhile.
‘’OK. Little bit better’’, I tell. It’s the truth. The sleeping didn’t do miracles but it cleared my head. Fear of sleeping didn’t disappear. I still have hours to burn before I have to sleep again. Last two days are hazy to me. Like it was all just a dream.
‘’My arms hurt’’, I say when I notice them stinging.
‘’Bet they do’’, he says to me. I’m not quite sure what he means. I rise to sit and lift the sleeves. My arms are covered in bloody scratching marks. I hazily remember doing this. I can’t believe that I did it but I felt so filthy. I still feel filthy. I’m not sure if this feeling is ever going to go away. I touch my arms. The blood has dried in hard bumps. Daryl takes my hand away from it. I take a huge breath and look at the sealing.
‘’How bad was I?’’, I ask. I really don’t want to know but I think I have to.
‘’Don’t worry ‘bout it. They'll understand’’, he answers to me. It’s almost the worst answer he could’ve given me. I expect the worst. Now when I think about it, I did scratch my arms so hard that they bled and I cut my hair. I think it’s time to put my brave face on. I have been messing around few days. It’s enough. It’s going to be hard and I’m going to want to give up but I have to. It would be easier just to hide in this tent but I don’t think Daryl would like that. After all, it’s his tent. I get up and offer Daryl a hand. He gets weird expression in his face but takes my hand and I help him up. We go out in silence. He gives me my jeans. They have been drying on branch. I put them on. Morning sun is shining proudly. I feel sad. Yet another beautiful morning without Roscoe. I lean on tree trunk. Daryl comes next to me.
‘’It’s beautiful’’, I say. He makes agreeing noise.
‘’These days you have to see all the little things that are beautiful’’, I say sadly. I feel empty. I’m not sure if it’s really better that he saved me. I’m messed up. It hurts so much. My throat has swollen up again. I fight back the tears.
‘’I lost a brother too. He acted stupid and Rick handcuffed him on the roof. They lost the key. We went back for him but he had hacked his hand off’’, he says. I’m surprised that he shares this kind of information with me.
''So, you don't know if he's alive or not?'', I asked silently. That sounds terrible. I think it better to know. There is no doubt where he is when you know.
''Yeah'', he answers. I stare the blinding sun. We are silent for a moment.
‘’I’m sorry’’, I say finally. We are silent in the sweet morning. Everything seems so nice and calm. Sadness doesn’t leave my body even in the bright sunlight.
‘’Is it ever going to be any easier?’’, I ask and turn to look at him. He turns to look at me. He doesn’t say anything but his expression tells it. You just learn to live with it. I nod and the tears fall down. It hurts so much. I feel Daryl moving beside me. I still see only orange/red ball every time I blink. I take a hold of hem his shirt and press my face to his chest. I can feel his going tense. I consider moving away but then he sets his arm around me. I know I appear weak but that’s what I am now. I’m crushed. Morning sun warms my back when I’m asking for strength to move on.
‘’Eggs?’’, woman named Maggie asks me. Roscoe loved eggs. He could’ve eaten them all the time. He got so happy when we founded two chickens and they actually made few eggs. I feel like stabbed and want to throw up. I shake my head to Maggie. She takes the eggs away. I still try not to throw up. I hold my stomach and concentrate on breathing. I have been with them few hours and I’m already losing it. Everybody is treating me weirdly. I’m not blaming them. I feel like suffocating all the time. They’re talking all the time. It hurts my head. All the words -
I just don’t want to hear them. My hands are shaking. It’s like I have this shaking inside and I just can’t stop it. It gets much worst every time somebody is talking to me. I want to say something, I really do but nothing comes out. Then I just stare them like dead fish. Then it just gets awkward. I get up. Everybody turns to look at me. I swallow a lump in my through.
‘’Going to… pee’’, I cough out. I walk in the woods and fall to my knees. I double over and try to remember to breathe. When I have calmed down, I sit on my ass. What was I thinking? I can’t take this. I try to remember my pep talk. Now it’s just mocking me. You can do I just put your big girl pants on, right? My brother was murdered in front of my eyes. I almost got raped. Last night was the first night I got any sleep. I take a deep breath. Maybe it’s going to get easier with time. I get up and walk back to camp. Just hold on, I tell myself.
‘’Want to came and do some laundry with me?’’, blond girl named Beth asks me. I nod to her. I have to try doing something for them. I have declined the food they have offered to me. I just can’t eat. Even the thought of food makes me gag. She leaded me to pond. I automatically touched my arms. I shake the feeling off and try to act normal. As easy as it sounds, it’s really hard in this state of mind. We sit down and start to rub the clothes. It was easy enough.
Beth looked at the girl beside her. She was quiet. She made thorough work washing the shirts. Her hair looked awful but Beth didn’t want to say anything about it. Maybe when she would be more relax with them. Maybe Maggie could cut it even. The silence was eating her. She started to sing to fill the silence between us. Girl doesn’t seem to notice, so she continues.
I’m crushed by memories. Roscoe liked to do the laundry. He always started to sing and I had to hush him. He never did. I hear a far away sound and it’s bringing me back. I turn to look Beth. Her mouth is moving but I can’t hear the words. I’m still hearing Roscoe singing in my head. Finally when I hear the words, tears well up in my eyes, she is singing. I turn my head down. Only a little curtain falls to my face.
‘’I can stop’’, she says to me. I shake my head. She has noticed my tears. I clear my trough.
‘’My brother used to sing when we were doing laundry’’, I tell her. We are silent for a moment.
‘’I’m sorry’’, she says. I just nod to her. Then we continue washing while she is singing. This is small group but there is lot to wash. We are maybe half way to washing everything. Beth takes deep breath.
‘’You can go’’, I tell her. She turns to look me.
‘’No’’, she says.
‘’Cleaned ones have to get to dry or their going to smell. You should go. I’m going to be just fine’’, I tell her. I seriously need to be alone. My arms are itching and I’m not going to lift the sleeves while she is there. It’s enough that Daryl saw them. Well, he saw me doing them. Beth stares me awhile. Then she nods and leaves with the clean clothes. I take a deep breath, finally alone. I lift the sleeves up and look at the scratches. They look fine, itching but fine. I slowly start to wash the clothes again. I don’t have to hurry. They’ll be waiting me when I’m ready.
When the dark comes I’m still washing the clothes. Nobody has come looking for me. I don’t mind. I’ve noticed that the birds have stopped singing. In silence I hear stick snap. I turn slowly and see a shadow of a human. I wait to see if it’s going to eat me or talk to me.
‘’Are you ready?’’, I hear familiar voice. I put the rest of the washed clothes to bucket and get up.
‘’Yeah’’, I answer.
‘’Let me help’’, she says and takes two other buckets. We walk back to camp without a word. They had built a fire. Silently I put the clothes on the wire. They cooked some meat in the heat of the fire. Even the smell of the food made me nauseous. The old man named Hershel gave me a plate when I had put the clothes to dry. I took the plate and sat down. I let the little hairs to fall to my face. I took one of the three pieces of meat and put it in my mouth. It was so hard to bite it so I could swallow it. It tried to come back up when I finally swallowed it. I tried to wash the taste off with water. I only was capable to eat two pieces and then I had to stop. I gave the plate back to Hershel. He looked at the plate and then me.
‘’Thank you. Give it to somebody’’, I told him. I got back to my sleeping bag. The feared night had fallen. I could hear my breath hitch. Pieces of meat rolled on my stomach and I felt like throwing up. I close my eyes. I have to try to keep this food inside. I try to concentrate on their quiet talk. How can eating be this hard? I let a big breath out. All the work with the laundry had made me tired and sneakily the sleep takes me away.
I wake up gasping for air. I get up and run for the trees. I throw up. When there is nothing to get out of me, I fall to my knees. I’m shaking hard. Is this ever going to be easier? I’m hungry and at the same time I can’t even bear the thought of eating. I lean on the tree and watch the billions and billions stars in the sky. Nights are going to get colder. I don’t know where they are going to go shelter for the winter. Am I going to be with them? Maybe I’m not even alive then. With my dark thoughts I continue the dark night.
Morning sunshine wakes up people. Slowly they get up and start the fire. I should go there, I tell myself. It’s only the black guy – T-Dog - and the Chinese guy – Glenn? – who are there. I get up and clean my jeans. Maybe I should have washed then yesterday. Well too late to think to that. My hands start to shake when I take steps closer to them. I wished that Daryl would be there. I haven’t seen him sense yesterday morning. I heard that he brought the meat, rabbit. I feel better when he is around. I stop when I’m close to them.
‘’Morning’’, Glenn says to me and I smile to him. T- Dog nods to me and I nod back.
‘’Can I help?’’, I ask silently. Glenn strangest his back and looks around. He looks like he is thinking hard.
‘’Öööm.. We – could – use somemorewood’’, he says. I furrow my brows.
‘’Okay’’, I say and turn. Am I really making them act this weird? I walk to forest and then look back. He is still looking in my direction. I walk deeper in the woods and all the light sticks I found. You always know of the woods weight if it's dry or wet. I take them so much that they hardly stay in my arms. I walk back to camp and drop them near the fire place.
‘’Well, you sure brought wood’’, Hershel says behind me. I jump a little and then fall to my ass. From the ground I look to him. He is smiling down to me.
‘’I’m sorry. Didn’t meant to startle you’’, he says. I get up from the ground.
‘’It’s ok’’, I tell him. Glenn comes with Maggie. He smiles to me when he noticed the wood I brought. They start to talk about something but I tune them out. At least one good thing done for today.
For two days they have stared the map. We need gas and food. Only yesterday I noticed that here is woman who is pregnant. Her stomach is quite big already. I yawn. I haven’t slept much. I want to do something for them but everything seems so hard. The hardest thing is to speak to them. I feel like my vocal cords has been clued close when I even think of speaking to them. Same thing happens when they come to talk to me. My trough is closed and my mind is empty. I just can’t think of anything to say. And no, I don’t want to talk about the weather. That’s just lame. And by the way I hardly even notice what the weather is. I lay my head to a tree. They are still talking where we should go. Hope they decide something. I feel like throwing up again.
‘’Ya okay?’’, I hear Daryls voice near me. I open my eyes and look where the voice came. Daryl is eating his thumb nail again. He is looking at me. I take a huge breath.
‘’Just tired, I guess’’, I say.
‘’Ya haven’t slept?’’, he asks. I don’t know what to say. I try to sleep but it’s not that easy. It’s like can’t sleep. And if I magically fall asleep, I wake up in horrid dream and go throw up. Not good habits, I can tell.
‘’Not much. I..’’, I tell him, ‘’I can’t sleep at all after the nightmares’’. I look the ground. Somehow I feel like I’m disappointing him. It’s weird.
‘’Have ya eaten?’’, he asks. I wipe my face. God, does he really have to ask?
‘’Yes but...’’, I curse myself for saying the but-word, mistake.
‘’But what?’’, he asks sharply. I look to the ground.
‘’I hardly can keep anything in, it useless to eat. I’m wasting good food’’, I say silently. It’s disappointing, really disappointing. I was ashamed. Before he could say anything Rick called him. He looked conflicted. I realized that he didn't know if he could leave me.
''Go'', I said and nodded to him. He looked me again analyzing me and scratched his chin. I tried to smile to him but I wasn't sure if it looked right.
Daryl walked away from the girl. She was still pretty bad shape. But she looked like she really tried. Daryl walked to Rick still in his thoughts.
''Could go get some suplies'', Rick asked.
''Yeah'', he aswered straigt. It would do good to get away for a while. Then he remembered Raya. Shit.
''I'm taking Raya with me'', Daryl said. Rick furrowed his brows.
''You sure she's up to it'', he asked. Rick was surprised that Daryl would take her of all the people around.
''Don't know'', Daryl answered.
''Well, ques you'll find out'', Rick said and looked away. Daryl turned to look at Raya. She was still leaning on the tree. Now he wasn't sure if he had made a mistake.
''You better go'', Rick said.
''Yeah'', Daryl answered and left him. He walked straight to Raya. She didn't even open eyes when he approached her. Did she even hear him?
''Come on'', Daryl said. Raya opened her eyes and looked at him. She pushed herself from the tree.