Prologue to Mylu
by Tiffany Monique
Mom screamed, “Watch out!”
Unfortunately the crash happened before I was even able to register shock.
The last thing I remembered prior to that was the backseat of the car as we headed home. I turned around to watch the rear-window view of the dancing Pacific Ocean surrounded by the million-dollar-home encrusted cliffs of La Jolla. It has always been known as one of San Diego’s premier places for picture perfect sunsets, thus its name, the Spanish translation of “The Jewel”.
She and I had just enough time to lock eyes as I was sucked out the back of the car, through the glass, but not through the glass.
I was safe in the backseat with my younger sister – both buckled in. Lizzo was putting her lion’s mane of adorably manageable Afro-centric curls into a ponytail, like always. I think we were laughing about some random dude we saw riding his bike with the orange shorts from nineteen-seventy-oh-please-don’t-show-that-much-of-your-pasty-leg. Mom was on our case about being kind to strangers. The Dad-bot would’ve laughed if he had heard us, but he was too busy being pissed off for no reason. Dad being pissed off was what most likely what caused the accident, like he’d ever admit something like that, but hey, that’s my Dad. For all his testosterone, he landed my mother and I’ll never know how. Anyway, someone screamed out and he jerked the wheel hard to the left at 45mph, right into a tree.
Within the same instant, there appeared an explosion of light behind me. I thought I was going to die and whipped my head towards my sister just as I opened my mouth to scream. The light sucked me through the window and time stopped. I don’t remember pain. I just remember being yanked – right out of my life. I was pretty sure that K from Men in Black flashy-thing’ed the back of my head. I would wake up in a hospital days or weeks from now and the craziness I saw would be a great story to tell Oprah or the Syfy Channel.
I was inhaled through a door made of silicone skin and gossamer. Something that felt like denim and fleece anointed me with laughter and tears, and my skin shivered all over. I simultaneously loved and hated it. My eyes felt full of sand as I squeezed them shut and tried to adjust the pressure in my ears. I began to fall. I almost laughed as images of Alice and random white rabbits came to mind.
Liz watched me slip into the light and disappear. Her shocked, terrified eyes bore into mine, crystallized into a horrifying white-white after image. I hated myself for closing my eyes, but it was a reflex, as was my hand reaching out to hold on to her.
Chapter 1 – Where to Begin?
It was a little cold and dark in the space that I traveled. Every detail I considered was trippy, but after a while it started to get on my nerves. Before too long, I was officially over falling, almost inviting the death I just knew was coming. Perhaps somehow I got kicked down the hole from 300.
This was not Sparta.
In the explosive silence, the sounds in my head were all that comforted me in my transit, and those sounds were obviously driving me bonkers. Where I was going, how I was traveling, whether or not I was in a coma dreaming or crazy, and of course my sister, ran around my brain like they were playing musical chairs with my consciousness.
I focused on my sister. Somewhere in my heart I knew Liz was looking out a window hoping to find anything that would let her know I was all right. I closed my eyes and let the tears fall but since I was turning, the tears switched directions and traced random trails on my face. Liz’s face in that last moment was burned into my memory, even as the image turned into shadow. One tear caught the light as it escaped her eye. I felt the terror shining out of her totally wrecked face. I did try to reach out to her.
I seriously fell forever.
Part of me felt a click like a key tumbler falling into place, and I became simultaneously terrified and calm, elated and anxious, but most of all confused as all get out.
And I kept falling.
Despite how scared I was, I actually fell asleep while I was falling. I was never the fainting kind, but I guess my consciousness just checked out. I needed to take that time in the unconscious I guess, but it was more than that.
And I just kept falling.
My stomach was in knots, but still managed to feel kinda hungry. It was torture. And I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted the falling to stop. Just stop. I opened my throat and roared out into the air, “STOP!”
So of course, I stopped. Like I could have done that hours ago and been done with it.
That was annoying as all get out.
Unfortunately, I was too shocked to feel that annoyance until later on because all of a sudden I was running.
1.2 The Dream and the Sapphire Fingernail
My legs went from swimming floaty relaxation, to perfect stillness, to maniacal pumping of quads, calves, ankles and toes through dense forest brush. Twigs snapping, crushing juicy things with my bare feet – gross! – and me, at my top speed tearing about the countryside. I had no idea where I was or where I was running at break-neck speed. I happened to get a brief glance at my hard pumping arms, and I was wearing some random cinnamon tinted shear thing. I almost stopped running.
I don’t do shear.
Perhaps, dirty librarian was a strong definition of my clothing style. I admit being a bit provocative, but I always had TV-16 limits. So there I was, in my size 10 glory, with no hope of hiding my not quite six-pack, thinking to myself that Liz would look so much better in this outfit with her I-can-run-and-smile-while-playing-piano body electric. I was running like a dork with my boobs bouncing up and down painfully like a CG animation with practically no clothes on!
My brain was at 3000 mph– night-time, clear, cool, tree?, squish, gross, white grass?, ouch, duck that branch, frickin’ naked, ouch my eye – because I was half blinded as I was whapped by the twig of a weirdly colored tree. Right after I was hit in the eye I came to a clearing where I could see the moon, half, clouded in shadow.
There was a hill with stone. I was bulleting towards that stone as if I were going to die if I didn’t reach it, and just as I touched it I was standing still surrounded by fog.
What. The. Frick?
My senses once again flipped out and began flailing my arms. My chest began to spasm as if I were drowning in air. I happened to see my pointer finger catch the light. My normally healthy, properly shaped, and French tipped fingernail was all of a sudden blue and reflecting the barely visible light in the practically unlit fog. This was not like the cool gel you have to pay extra for at the nail salon. My right pointer fingernail was a sapphire. It was sapphire for real sapphire. I could feel the weight of it on my fingernail like a really strong, well balanced, acrylic nail overlay.
I’ve always thought how cool it would be to have been born in September, because that’s a spiffy looking stone compared to my January 3rd garnet, and harvest time was always my favorite time of year, even in my non-harvest hometown of Carlsbad, CA. I mean, we get the flowering fields in the spring, but it’s kinda dismal and gloomy in January except for New Year’s Eve, but once you say that first, “Happy New Year” you kinda wanna get to bed – at least I did. So while I was still standing there in the fog, staring at my finger shining this pretty deep dark sea blue, I tried to feel about with my feet.
I could feel the stab of pain in my ribs from running and the hotness of tears stinging my eyes as willed myself not to cry. Did I mention that there was no way I could be sane anymore? No matter what I tried to say or do, my grip on reality had taken a serious beating, and I couldn’t say whether or not copious amounts of drugs and a strait jacket would be needed if I ever woke up from this jacked-up dream. I’d seen the movies. I knew there was head trauma involved with me. I could just go along for the ride, but I didn’t want to get so involved that I died in my dream. Morpheus said if you died in your mind, your body would follow, or something like that. Would I ever be able to explain this without people running away quickly? Or worse, was comatose state my new reality, from which I would never wake? Was my life as I knew it over?
It sounds silly, but just then I thought how much more this sucked, because if I had truly suffered serious head trauma, I would never be able to speak, let alone talk smack to my little Lizzo. When I woke from this, would I even be able to talk? Would I would ever call her Lizzo, and have her growl how much she hated it when I called her that. That normal little ritual — was that gone?
The fog began to clarify, something like the June gloom letting light the mid-morning in, but faster and with no SoCal heat. There is no wind, and my burning, tear-filled eyes began to acclimate. My legs were tired from running, and my feet still felt the cuts from my little romp in the woods. Happy to report the shear clothes were gone and I was back in my jeans and thermal. My socks provided a bit of an annoying cushion for my lacerated feet, but it felt nice to have my boots on. How I went from fully clothed, to barefoot and practically naked, and then back to fully clothed was something of a mystery to me for some time, but we will get to that.