Outside looking in

I look down at my arms, and they are alien arms stitched on my body. I am not that old. I search the sand dunes of memory, sifting for a name, my husband's name. The doctor in my nightmare tells me I've had children. I can't remember this. My mind is a white snowbank of blank, and I am holding cards that should have memories on them instead of hieroglyphs I can't understand.

I fall back into self with a thud, and the only physical sensation I have is that I am much too tall. Is it possible to grow three feet while you're dreaming? I touch my head, and the soft fuzz there feels foreign. Like my brother's summer buzz cut when we were children.

My husband says, "Look at my glasses." So I do, I stare hard, but I still cannot remember marrying him. The buzzing in my ears drowns out the sounds and I see the light in a hard line on the floor as the children crack the bathroom door to see who is crying. It takes a moment to realize that it is me making that low moan.

So I lay back into flannel sheets and down comforter, and try to purge the nightmare from brain cells. I was drowning, falling, broken, bleeding. Others were hurt in my crash. Yet I am trying to walk, trying to look alright. A pastor in a flashy suit asks me if I am okay. Of course I am. Of course I am. I plod along to a river and soak my bloody feet in the dark bracken there.

I wake up still falling, and my husband is a stranger whose name I can't remember.

Oh, for sanity. I pray for sanity.