The night bleeds into the morning, I can feel the light emerging from behind the blinds. I am almost done with the sketch of horses with a maddening look in their eyes, the gypsy women who ride them in their long skirts and while braided hair. I peek through the corner of my eyes and it feels like the party is almost over, as a frail dude sweeps dust from the floor. He feels my gaze on him and immediately responds with a full smile,
I am about to nod back at him when Melissa’s head comes into my line of sight and she’s says, “All done?” I give her a shy smile, realizing that I was yet again falling into the trap that my hallucinations lay to elicit a response from.
The next thing I know is that I wake up to my mother’s voice, asking me to show her my sketches. I am sure that it must late into the afternoon and I might have fallen asleep. She examines my hands, dirty with all the pencil charcoal smudges. She doesn’t know that I draw what I see, only Melissa knows this small secret, and is laid on my couch, sleeping peacefully.
I shower and eat eggs for brunch. That’s all that I feel like eating. Melissa’s small frame sits at the far end of the table as she picks on her toast. As mom leaves the room, I urge Melissa to sit with me. The rest of the day just goes by with us discussing TV shows and her school friends. There are endless hours of conversation between us. After dinner, we end up curled on the central room’s couch, playing our favorite video game.
I am a bit tired from last night’s sketching and the night before, and before that, and so on. But I know, there’s no chance that I’d give up and try to sleep because I know that the voices won’t let me doze peacefully. Melissa gathers her reading stuff and sits beside me. We begin another night of art woven from my hallucinations.
By now, even the back of my mind knows what will happen next, I will try really hard to fight my hallucinations and slip somewhere. In no time, the morning peeks through my window blinds and birds chirp outside but I am not sure whether they are in my head or they are already out and about at the break of dawn.
Everybody leaves only Melissa’s twin-hallucination looks at me. She stares with an unfazed intensity but she doesn’t have a voice. I guess she can’t speak yet somehow, her laugh has a sound. After a couple of minutes of our staring contest, I realize that there are red marks on her throat. By the look of it, I can swear that she struggled a lot but the offender didn’t let her go for sure.