I wondered, then. I wondered about the dress I was wearing, if it was still pure white, free of stains. I wondered if
this was salt water, if my tears were going to affect anything around me. Before I'd left, we'd been learning about
ecology in my science class. I wondered why it was I'd woken up with black hair. I wondered why it was I'd felt pain.
So much pain.
I wondered, desperately, without wanting to, about the blood that was dispersing through the water. I wondered if this
was as close to flying as I could get, or if there were creatures out there that could fly. If I could wake up and live
off blood, I wondered if there were angels. I wondered what would happen if I just let myself drift down into the silt
rising below me; would I still live in a kind of un-life? Would I need to breathe? Would I die?
I looked at the sky. The clouds were silver by the moon, not a crescent or full moon, but somewhere in between. I'd say
it was ugly if it wasn't the only thing keeping me company. Even the stars weren't out that night.
It was when I'd realized the date that I'd started crying. It was Alice's birthday. I'd been left here to die on my
cousins birthday. She was like a sister to me, but now I'd have to forget her. For her own good.
I kicked one leg, then the other, getting farther from the sandy shores. I don't even know what country this is,
I thought, I've never been outside of Alabama...
I turned over and sucked in some of the water. It tasted
like gritz that someone had slipped molded cheese into.
Then I started wondering again, holding my breath and counting as I did so. One, two...
If I was... whatever I
was, did that mean that I couldn't eat regular food? Would I never have gritz again? ...Five, six...
gritz... I loved Mama's gritz. ...ven, eight, nine...
Alice made a good casserole, too. She was always better at
making dinner than I was. Did she still make casseroles? ...teen, sixteen, sev...
How old was she? How long had
it been since that awful night...? twenty, twenty one...
I kept counting. I kept wondering. In pain and confused,
it could have been months that I'd been in and out of consciousness. Maybe years. I don't know how long I'd spent
I suddenly tried to sit up in the water, quickly beginning to tread water as something hit me. What if Alice is going to
get married soon? What if she already had, what if she had kids?
What if she'd forgotten about me?
I spluttered and began to sink, getting to the bottom and sinking into the sand and shells below. I don't know how far
from shore I was.
Waking up was the cruelest thing that God could have done to me.