Familiarity

His hand grasps for a partner, craving a touch that isn't there.

He awakes with a jerk, blinking into awareness and staring into the plain, whitewashed walls around him.

Sterile, plain, empty, void of life.

Almost like him. He too is void of all colors, all life. He would say that he's always hated the color white, which seems to overtake everything here, especially him, if he could remember back that far. The concept of always seems so vast to him, now, a phrase he can barely comprehend.

Either way, he has a feeling.

Feelings are really all he had these days.

Before he can dwell anymore in his morose thoughts, the door is pushed open with a loud squeak.

"How are you doing, honey?" the big, motherly woman questions as she bustles in, setting a tray down in his lap.

He hates her tone, how she always treats him like he is ten. Of course, if they told him he was, he would have no choice but to believe it. This is yet another thing he hates, having to rely so much on these people.

He doesn't answer, just stares dismally at the tray of food in front of him, if it can really be called such; he isn't so sure.

She doesn't seem to be offended by his lack of response, doesn't seem to even notice, for she just continues, "How did you sleep?"

He looks away, unwilling to tell her about his strange dreams. Perhaps not dreams at all; perhaps memories. Memories now that seem long forgotten. He doesn't know. Still, he won't tell her of how he craves the comfort he had found in this dream person's touch.

Comfort that he no longer knows.

Then again, he doesn't really know anything, anymore.

"Marcus?" the woman questions, worry filling her voice. He glances up with disinterested eyes. Yet another thing seems unfamiliar to him: his own name.

"I'm going to check on other patients now, dear. I'll come see you later."

She pauses for a moment, as if expecting a response. Foolish woman; doesn't she recall that he never responds?

He doesn't even glance at her; instead, he stares out the window and silently wills her away. He doesn't turn around until she emits a disappointed sigh, hears her receding footsteps, and finally the heavy wooden door swings closed.

He's grateful that she's gone.

He's always alone, it seems. Even when he isn't, when the obnoxious, overbearing woman or the cold-handed, graying and frazzled man come in, he feels as if he is. That's okay, though, really; being alone is better than being with these unknown, overly friendly people.

Everything is unknown, now.

He falls back against the thin pillows with a sigh, wearied by his wandering thoughts.

Perhaps he can sleep again, and dream of that nameless memory.

At least he feels something familiar then.

Days pass; he doesn't know how many, as he doesn't bother to keep track. It's too depressing to, really, and he can't help but wonder if his life before was this dull. Perhaps that was why he didn't remember it; perhaps nothing prior to this had been worth remembering, really.

He hopes that isn't it.

The overbearing, motherly nurse comes in sometimes with food and tries to make him to speak. He won't. She wonders sometimes if he can talk, but he doesn't bother to alleviate her fears. Another one comes in, occasionally, a short blond woman who doesn't bother to stay and chat, just checks his temperature, gives him painkillers, and leaves.

He likes her better than the other one, and wishes he dealt solely with her.

At least she doesn't attempt to force him to talk; she leaves him alone to the peace and quiet.

He can almost pretend she isn't there.

He doesn't know how long he's been here, lying in this whitewashed room with the stale blue curtains that give barely a glimpse of the life beyond. He doesn't like to think about that, either. He doesn't like to think that he has nowhere else to go, that he knows nothing besides what is in this room; perhaps that, above anything, is what keeps him here.

Perhaps he is too scared about this unfamiliar world that lurks beyond the walls of this small, sterile sanctuary.

Not that he found peace in it, anyway.

But then again, he didn't know of any place where he could.

He didn't know anything, anymore.

"Marcus," the man says to him, looking at him over a clipboard that rests on the end of his bed.

The light glints off his glasses, and he can't see the man's eyes, but he knows that they are watching him, squinted into a frown of perplexed annoyance; he does better at hiding the first emotion than he does the second; the man doesn't like people to know when he is confused.

He doesn't react to the name; why should he? It isn't his.

The doctor lets out a sigh. "We could release you, if you would just speak, if you would tell us that you're all right."

He doesn't know if he wants to be released; as he wondered before, where would he go?

The man, however, doesn't know this. Perhaps he's just attempting to be kind.

He doubts it.

He doesn't react, just turns his face instead to the white and grey linoleum that cover the floor. Dull, just like everything else seems to be around here.

"Marcus," they call for him to awake. He ignores it at first, not realizing they are speaking to him, but the noises won't go away. They are breaking his peaceful slumber, making the nameless dream man disappear. He fights for a moment, wanting to remain deep within this memory, if that is what it is. Even if it weren't, if it was just a dream, he'd prefer to be in that than in any other place.

He slowly blinks into awareness, frowning up at the man that stands beside his bed. He hates the fact that these people stand so close to them. He doesn't want to be near any of them.

They take his lack of response as a sign to continue, apparently. Or perhaps they don't care. Either way, the man sits on the edge of the bed and pronounces to him slowly, "There is someone here to see you."

He is confused as to why the man needed to rest on the edge of he bed, to invade his personal space, to tell him such a thing that he could've shouted from the door. Or better yet, somewhere down the hall.

"Do you want me to send him in?" the man asks. He ponders, for a moment, before shaking his head in a decisive manner. No, he does not this person to come in, whoever it is. He doesn't know them, doesn't know anything.

He doesn't want to disappoint. Them, or himself.

The doctor sighs, as if he had figured that all along, and patting his leg once, he stands and heads for the door, telling the nurse quietly to send the man away.

Time seems to pass strangely, here; he never knows what time of day it is, or even the day itself. He simply passes in and out of consciousness, though truthfully he attempts to stay more on the unconscious side of things. The man that visited the other day has come back, several times. Every time, he refuses to see the visitor, whoever it is.

It isn't like they will matter to him, anyway.

Then, one night, as he is glancing out through the crack in the stale blue curtains and into the empty courtyard below, the heavy door to his room that shuts him off from the rest of the world creaks. He doesn't look back around to it as the person steps quietly and consciously in, barely heard in the silent of the night.

He feels confused about this, as no one is so careful when they enter; generally, they have no care for interrupting his peace, the only peace he gets.

Then again, he is generally confused about things, nowadays.

He turns toward the door, and his breath catches in his throat as he takes in the person that hesitantly walks closer to him. The person seems familiar, somehow, as if he knows him from somewhere. The lightly tousled blond hair and the sparkling green eyes that are now glancing at him self-consciously make him remember, or at least want to remember.

Before he can take this person in any more, he is kneeling next to him and wrapping his thin, wiry arms around him, pressing his face into his thick curly locks. He can feel the wetness of the tears seep into his skin, and the man, who he now realizes is the dream man, whispers into his ear, "Oh, God, Marc, I missed you so much."

And suddenly, something seems familiar.


The end didn't come out the way I wanted it to, for some reason...

This is something I wrote for my Writing Group. There are mild traces of slash, if you caught it...the whole thing was inspired by a "friend," who told me I should write about a "crazy house"...this is what happened. Not exactly a crazy house, but still rather insane. Hope everyone enjoyed...