In Another Life
by Kelly Sandoval
Waking after a night spent slipping, I reach for Louisa automatically, rolling into the empty space where she belongs. I lick the memory of her from my lips, languid with sex. The alarm shrieks from my bedside table but I’ve gotten good at ignoring it.
We went skating. Louisa wore a purple sweater and, giggling and unsteady, clung to my arm. We kissed on the ice and she pressed herself against me, her frozen fingers sneaking under my coat to stroke my back. It’s her laughter I cling to. These days, I only hear her low, honeyed laugh when I’m slipping. I miss the warmth of it.
But it fades. Even the taste of her fades.
I tell myself it’s all right. That it’s necessary. I’ve got an appointment with my therapist at noon. If I’m still clinging to the night’s slip, he’ll know I haven’t been taking my medication.
No help for it. I drag myself out of bed and hit the alarm. My head pounds and the world blurs along the edges. I’ve slipped for three nights straight and ice skating with Louisa is nothing like sleeping. If I don’t take a day off soon, it’ll start to get dangerous.
My therapist would say it’s already dangerous. But he doesn’t understand what I’ve lost.
I’ve got four houses to show before my appointment, and a lot of coffee to drink to be ready for them. He’ll make a thing of it, if I’m late. He always does.
The hours dribble past, hazy and distant. It’s like I left a shard of myself in my alter and can’t quite get back in step with my timeline. When the charming young couple at house two asks me about financing I try to answer, only to be distracted by the ghost of a red-headed boy rushing past in pursuit of a large gray bunny. The woman selling the house wears her red curls pulled back in a tight bun. She’s childless, though abandoned rabbit hutches sit moldering in the back yard, lowering her property values.
Does she slip, stealing moments with this laughing, clumsy boy?