My Prison Without Bars

Lightning coursed through the dimly lit room like a strobe light timed to the throbbing bass of a crowded nightclub. Thunder followed quickly, vibrating every brick and beam of the high-rise hotel. If I were to guess, I would say that the latter was what finally brought me into semi-consciousness. Dazed and confused, I surveyed my surroundings through the blurry viewfinder of my left eye. Lying face down on the bed with my head to the side and my arms numb, trapped by my body, my perception of everything around me and everything that had happened was skewed. Like the small notation at the base of my car’s side mirror, Objects aren’t as far away, or as close as they seem, I squinted my  good eye and tried to make some sense of my surroundings. Depth perception, if not gone altogether, was at the very least severely impaired. The ability to assess, measure, and maneuver with any skill became quite limited.

Ironically, I was discovering these truths to be evident as I lay face down on the bed, watching with one functional eye, blood from my head wounds soak into the chenille bedspread. Sounds were muffled and seemed to move farther away, like distant echoes outside. Considering earlier events, the plush room I occupied was quiet and eerily peaceful.

The knife-like pain in my side was making it hard to breathe. Mustering all the strength I had, I turned onto my back.

To my surprise, my one-eyed view of my environment didn’t change. Feebly, I raised a bloody object–oh God, my hand was bleeding–to my right eye and found it was missing. OK, well not missing, but playing hide and seek in about three inches of swollen, bleeding flesh. My eyelid was toast. No way was I getting that thing to open.

It still hurt like hell to take a breath. Probably some broken ribs.

I ran my hand over my face and gasped as I touched what I once knew as a pert nose. It spread two inches across my face, allowed no air to pass through it, and was bleeding profusely.

My lips and right ear felt like raw hamburger. I could feel soreness and painful bruising around my neck and collarbone. Oddly, a mental image of a man’s large hands choking the breath out of me kept passing through my mind.

I felt the remnants of my torn shirt on my shoulders and my mutilated bra around my belly. The straps had been ripped from the cups. No small feat. Raising my head, fighting nausea about to send me back into oblivion, I shuddered as I saw the bite marks on my breasts and watched, transfixed, as blood oozed from my left nipple. Tears began to escape from my swollen eye, and the room blurred. With only one eye to work with, crying was not an option.

Careful inspection of my stomach revealed bruising hand prints all the way to my hips. I sagged with relief, noting that even though my pants were unbuttoned and my zipper was torn, they were still in place. I would take any small blessing at this point.

Emotion overwhelmed me, almost sending me into hysteria as I gasped for air through my teeth. The pain in my ribs and head made me dizzy and nauseous.

Probably a concussion. I tried to remember the rules about treating concussions–it even hurt to think.  Ah ha! I shouldn’t sleep. My eyes–correction, my eye–looked toward the window. God, I had to stop moving my head. It was dark, except for a few flashes of lightning. Good sleeping weather. Surely, it wouldn’t hurt to shut my eye for just a minute.

A small, irritating voice in the basement of my mind said, “You can slip into a coma, or die. You have to stay awake.” But a soothing blanket of darkness began to cover me. My own private nirvana. I could feel my body begin to drift, like a boat without an anchor. The thunder, all but gone now, was a soothing backdrop for the rhythmic clatter of the rain assaulting the balcony. I felt weightless as the warmth of my body dissipated and the obsidian darkness overtook me. I floated effortlessly toward the abyss. My only connection to this world: the incessant, relentless, staccato of the torrential rain outside the glass doors. Soothing, cleansing, rain.

More to come…

My Prison Without Bars…The Journey of a Damaged Woman to Someplace Normal  By Taylor Evan Fulks © 2012.