There’s a contagion here, the grayness of the walls confirms it. It rests, nestled within the folds of these curtains. It seeps across the ceiling and rustles behind these walls as it makes its presence felt. Like sirens it beckons, it calls, “Enter, you must. This is where you belong. Come lay your weary head to rest, sleep.” I obey the unspoken command, I am in; I have lost the will to resist. The walls here radiate lethargy and ennui and the spring in my steps from just a moment ago is transformed into a suit of lead. I collapse in an immovable heap of flesh and soluble bones.

My eyes can still rotate within their sockets and find their way around the room. I can observe the softly falling shroud of dust as a shaft of light from a window pierces the darkness. I want to reach out to part the curtains and flood the room with light. But I am unable to bridge that gap between wanting something and getting to it.

Somewhere out there, in another part of the house, there are footsteps, the sounds of tiny paws clicking on tiles as they fade into linoleum. There are pots and pans clanging and cooking oil sizzling in a frying pan somewhere. The smell of frying onions drifts into my consciousness, I try to turn my head in the direction of these sensory assaults but it isn’t within my powers. There are also the sounds emanating from a television set somewhere and laughing children, content with imaginary games and situations rife with characters whose destinies they control. I am unnoticed, unfound, an object forgotten.

There’s a soft sound of ice crystals striking the windows, like the tinkling of glass. The snow falls outside while layers of dust fall on me inside, burying me with my eyes open and staring, searching the four corners of the room and the ceiling. They don’t call me, they haven’t missed me. They didn’t notice when I entered.

The dust is thicker now it’s weighing me down, it’s traveling in through my nostrils, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, I can’t…

I woke up with a start; I wasn’t buried under a shroud of dust although my breathing was still irregular. I took a few minutes to compose myself and ran out of the room, yelling for him. I ran down the stairs, screaming out his name but no one answered my frantic calls. Then I parted the curtains of the window and saw them playing Frisbee outside. Everything I wanted was right there, outside. I waved at them. But they probably didn’t see me due to the angles at which the light failed to illuminate my presence behind the window. I decided to join them outside. I opened the front door and took a step outside…but I couldn’t. I was trapped. There was an invisible barrier of sorts. I glanced up at the window again and saw the raven bang its head against the clear pane. It couldn’t get in; it didn’t know what was stopping it, and I didn’t know what was keeping me in.

Tiring of their game they started walking back toward the house, hand in hand, laughing at some shared joke until they reached the door. I thought I spoke, I thought I greeted them but they didn’t acknowledge me, they had no trouble entering the house. I called out their names again, my pitch increasing with each attempt until I felt a tap on my shoulder, “Here honey! What’s the matter?”

“Where were you? I was calling out your name for so long!” I said, grabbing his collars with both hands.

“I was here. I was with Ralphie and Lynn. We were out playing.”

“I know. I saw you, I called you. You didn’t hear me, Nick, it was as if you didn’t even see me!”

“Hey! You weren’t home! Didn’t you just get home?”

“Hours ago! I had the worst nightmare, Nick! I couldn’t breathe, I was buried in dust…and just now it seemed like I couldn’t step across our doorstep…I felt so trapped…so invisible…”

“Relax Sonia! Sounds like you’ve had a rough day!”

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