When I opened my eyes I saw the light, reflecting in the mirror across from my bed. I had sensed it there with my eyes closed; it kept me vigilant and awake. I crawled to the door and shoved the towel closer to the space under the door then back into bed.

Breathing in-2-3-4.

The movie started again.

No. No. No. No. Breathing out-2-3-4.

The hero returns to find his girlfriend.

No. No. No! No! Breathing in-2-3-4!

He sees first the writing in blood on the wall: “Happy birthday, Jonathan.”

No. The familiar nausea rose.

Then he sees her body, limp in the tub.

I started to retch, throwing open the door. The light flooded into the bedroom. Laura rolled over from sleep.

I ran to the bathroom, flipping up the toilet lid in time. The vomit poured out of me, splashing the water up at my face. My face was red and watery. Another stream of vomit.

Dad!Victoria called from her room without getting up.

No answer. I started to wail.

Dad!” She waited. “Dad! She’s doing it again!”

My dad’s voice came muffled down the hall: “Ann?”

“I’m sick!”

I heard him getting out of bed, walking down the hallway. Then he was right behind me. “Are you finished?”

“I can’t sleep.” I moaned.

“You need to be quieter. I have to get up in the morning.”

So did I. At 7:55, Laura and I would cross the orchard behind the house, climb the fence, and head to the berry patch for work.

I don’t wanna go back to bed. I can't sleep.” I started to choke again. I leaned my head over the toilet. My stomach was empty.

Fine, sleep here, but you have to keep the door closed. You’re keeping everybody awake.”

I let him close the door. I tried again to throw up. I was definitely empty. I unfocused my eyes, resting my head on the brown and yellow linoleum. My body was tired but the movie still played in my mind. The girlfriend. The blood. The father’s message.

I woke halfway in the early morning and climbed into bed for the last few hours of darkness. I was twelve and a half.

from The Book of Revelation

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Sick"ness, n. [AS. seocness.]

1.

The quality or state of being sick or diseased; illness; sisease or malady.

I do lament the sickness of the king. Shak.

Trust not too much your now resistless charms; Those, age or sickness soon or late disarms. Pope.

2.

Nausea; qualmishness; as, sickness of stomach.

Syn. -- Illness; disease; malady. See Illness.

 

© Webster 1913.

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