She was gone when she blinked

The strangest thing started happening. It was totally out of the blue. Just one day, everything was normal, and the next… well. WELL.

I was sitting and having coffee with my friend Suzy. We were laughing and having a great time, then she had to take a call. I knew it was important, so I urged her to do what she had to. While she was gone, I began to daydream about going to Hawaii. I was planning a trip, I just didn’t know precisely when I would be able to actually go. It was a long time desire of mine, to see this island. To be in a tropical environment. I had studied many travel books about it, learned everything I could about the places to go, the restaurants to eat at, the culture. I could look at pictures and know exactly where they’d been taken.

I closed my eyes to focus, imagining the ocean and beach, the palm trees and the vast sky. I formed this picture so well in my head that I began to feel the breeze, and smell the water. It was relaxing. Everything I was hoping for. This escape was not new to me, though the extreme detail of it was.

When I opened my eyes again, wanting to see if Suzy was coming back, the beach image was still there. My toes were lapped at by the tail end of a wave rolling in, my pantyhose suddenly soaked. I couldn’t breathe. This had to be some kind of psychological break. I’d lost it completely. I’d spent too much time wishing, and it had broken me somehow.

Panicked, I closed my eyes again, focusing on where I really was. A cafe with Suzy. We were chatting and catching up. The day was slightly overcast, but warm. The chairs were just this side of uncomfortable, especially for how long we’d been sitting in them. I was having a cappuccino, there were biscotti on a little white plate on the table that neither of us had touched.

The smell of salt air faded away, and thankfully when I peered warily out through the tiny slits I’d allowed between my eyelids, that’s what I saw. Cafe. Suzy on her phone. The grey skies.

Relief was short lived, though.

My toes were still wet and sandy.

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