When you wake up the next day, for one brief moment, you are glad the sun is up. You think you can hear your little honeybee buzzing, and you’re sure you can feel the butterflies’ wings on your arm… And the sun is so bright, it should be giving off heat, but it doesn’t, and it just keeps getting brighter. Soon, you can’t close your eyes, or you DO close them but it makes no difference, the sun is beating down mercilessly and it’s so BRIGHT, and suddenly your head is pounding from the light, but you’re still freezing, and the flowers are giving you an asthma attack and you can’t breathe, you cannot breathe, your chest is heaving like a 3rd rate porn star’s and your body’s trembling with the effort but no oxygen’s getting in, your lungs are on fire, and no, no, oh God, the butterflies are UNDER your skin, they’re underneath your skin, they’re inside you, the sickening beat of their wings is terrifying, and as they itch and tickle and nauseate your nerve endings, as they sicken you down to your bones you realize you can hear the bee again, but it’s not 1 bee, it’s an entire hive, and they
keep getting louder and louder and you realize that the pounding in your ears isn’t your own heartbeat, it’s a swarm of bees and they’re inside your skull, you can hear them and they’re so loud your eardrums are bleeding and they must have ruptured but you can still hear the swarm, oh God it sounds like they’re going to sting you to death, and you fall to your knees and beat at the air and shake your head and froth at the mouth like a rabid dog and, weeping uncontrollably, you fall into the fetal postition and rock back and forth and try to clutch your head, and your stomach, and your arms and legs, all at once because every part of you feels violently ill, you feel like your guts are full of gnawing insects and if you could just vomit your insides up maybe you’d feel better, or if you could scratch your sun-blinded eyes out, or poke out your eardrums with a knitting needle to make the insects stop buzzing inside your ears… and if you’re very, very lucky, at some point someone sees you like this, weeping in psychic pain, and they grab you and stuff a pill into your mouth, and you fall asleep.
The next day, when you wake up, it’s awful. The sun’s still so bright it hurts your eyes, and there’s a swarm of pissed-off bees flying around your head, and the angriest group of butterflies you’ve ever seen keep flying into your mouth/eyes/hair, and you can barely breathe from the overwhelming stink of flowers… and then it hits you. You can breathe, just a little, just enough to get by. And the insects, they’re outside your head again. And the sun, it’s painfully bright, but not blindingly so. And the intruder–you can see him. He’s standing across the street, too far for you to make out his features (which is scary, because you know you won’t recognize him the next time he gets close) and he’s watching you, and you know he doesn’t like you AT ALL, but he’s just holding his ground. He’s not advancing, and he’s definitely not skulking around waiting for his chance to attack. And maybe, if you’re very lucky, someone is sitting there, on the patio with you, holding your hand; and even though you know they can’t see or hear the insects, and they think the sun is fine, and the
flowers as well, you love them more than your own life, for sitting out there and braving this with you. And when they offer you the little/large white/blue/green/yellow pill, you take it, and you almost manage to smile at them, and you hope everything’s going to be okay again.
And slowly, things improve. After 3 or 4 pills, the sun dims just a little, and you can barely smell the flowers. 3 or 4 more, and the bees have all gone, aside from the original pollinator. You’re even thinking about making friends, again. The butterflies have backed off, and they seem to realize that you’re a little delicate, because they’re not landing on you, but they’re flying close enough to let you know they’re there. A few more pills, and the intruder looks at you, sighs, and starts walking away; you know he might be saying, “Next time, Gadget!” or similar inside his head, but at least that means that *this* time is over, and you’ve defeated him for now, and you can relax, just a little, just for the moment. Eventually, the door to your house reappears, and you go back inside, and you resume your mornings on the patio, maybe a little scarred, a little permanently hesitant, but essentially content.
Nothing tangible has changed, but you can handle your life again. So you keep taking the magic pills, and for a while, you’re actually happy. And when happy tapers off to content, that’s fine too. Every life, a little rain, blah blah blah, and this isn’t even rain, this is just a day that’s a little overcast. It’s fine. Everything is very, very fine. And so you keep taking the pills, because you remember with suicidal clarity what it was like just before you started taking them.
And then one day, you go to the back door, and it won’t open. The sun is shining, the 1 bee is pollinating, the butterflies are fluttering, the flowers are blooming, but you can’t get outside. But, hey. Who needs to go outside? Not you. You remember how bad it got, that one time, and you decide that looking out a window at nature is nearly as good as being outside in nature. Your daily mornings on the patio become your daily mornings looking out the window, and that’s fine.
Everything is just fine.