Continued from the first post:
I’m still a pudding brain because I think I’ve watched too much television, and I really shouldn’t have pushed it by binge watching the first half of Doctor Who season eight. I’m up to “Kill the Moon”, but I don’t want to watch it because of a disgusting, terrifying monster that would even make my best friend lose it. The episode doesn’t look like it’s worth watching a giant eight legged freak worse than a recluse or black widow, if it registers on the horror flick level.
Nope, I want to watch a story emulating Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express about a creepy bandaged mummy on a train flying through space! Got to love that flapper hairdo on Clara.
Downing half the coffee mug of tea, I make my first attempt at making him exit. “I think I got this now,” I say. “I have to get up.”
“Under no circumstances,” Mr. Midnight quips in his dark tone. “You are going back to bed.”
“I have to write,” I say as a lame ass excuse, even though I really haven’t posted anything in two months.
“Later, not happening now,” he says. “You are such a drama queen.”
“I ain’t no queen, not even a princess. Until I actually leave the state of Maryland with a decent income, which is a long way from ever happening, I am the very least important to everyone.” This is what I truly think of myself as I’ve had nothing but revolting crap happening to me all year. I can’t even look at a puppy in a pet store or just a child with an ice cream cone without seeing the ridiculous price tags.
“You are important,” Mr. Midnight corrects me before taking it all back with the next conclusion. “Well, you’re important to some people, I suppose, not me.”
“I’m another pudding brain to you who can’t write worth a damn,” I say, reiterating my heartless pessimism poisoning me since high school and now pushing me to my breaking point.
“That is an absolute lie, and you know that,” he says, raising his voice to me, with barely any regard for my headache.”Or didn’t your boyfriend tell you that already?”
“There is no boyfriend, I told you!” I shout, gathering whatever strength I had in me to wake him up. Maybe it woke me up and did more harm than good to me, my pulse racing again. The thought of my American version of Danny Pink, with his curlier dark hair, lighter skin and bilingual linguistics of fluent English and Spanish, floods into my eyes in a stinging warm waterfall.
Midnight’s eyes widen as I nearly hear a crashing sound of his lower jaw hitting the table. “How are you doing that? Look at you, sick with a sinus infection for three days, which will probably end up in your lungs by the end of next week, and your eyes are just inflating like an air bed!”
I can’t smile at him. I just can’t.
“Sinus infection?” I say, aroused with confusion and paranoia that he lied to me brutally. “You said I was poisoned! My best friend had a sinus infection when we went to college together; that is nothing compared to this!”
“Shut up, I only lied to get you to calm down,” he says hotly.
“Calm down? Calm…” I bite my lip in vain again, turning my head the other way and feeling like I wanted to either slap him upside the head or slap myself in the face like a complete moron we both play-acted for the past 20 minutes. I look at the clock again and I can’t even see it straight. I’m not actually sure if it’s been 20 minutes or an hour that we’ve both been sitting down here in the kitchen, me in my damp sleepwear, robe and slippers.
I turn back at him and say, “For some reason, I really want to hate you and hit myself for what I got myself into. Why, why did I ever start this lame-ass obsession with-”
“Stop,” he commands. “Enough. Upstairs. Bed. Sleep. Now. Not another word.”
“It’s practically middle of the afternoon and I have stuff to do,” I say. “For all I care, I think Madame Vastra should put you to sleep like she did after you were chased by a T-Rex into the Thames River in Victorian London.”
“I said, upstairs, bed,” he repeats in a darker tone. “Do as you’re told, woman.”
“Hello? United States, pal,” I say. “Free country and I’m well past the drinking age in Maryland state, practically pushing 30. I’ll go to bed when I’m dead dog tired… maybe around 11 o’ clock, if I’m lucky, if.” (And come to think of it, I could use some brandy in my cold tea right about now.)
“You really believe you’ll go to bed that early?” he asks, his face frowning more than giving a quizzical expression. “Last I checked, you were asleep at four a.m. Eastern Seaboard Time last night. Rachel, you work and worry too hard… and you are going to bed this instant.”
I back away, mortified that, yeah, that’s about right. Americans: overpaid, oversexed, overworked, overwhelmed and on top of too many things to cause a burnout like this one.
Wired and exhausted from arguing with him, I trudge up the stairs, drink in hand and bending over like a sickly hunchback. I feel like crawling upstairs despite my angry mood, thinking of how much I want to throw him out with the rabbits and feral cats roaming in the woods across the street.
My radio alarm sitting on my nightstand reads about quarter after noon, as soon as I lie down and actually get my vision back to read it. The tickle in my lungs gives way to more coughing, and I crawl into my triple mattress bed, the soft Ikea memory foam mattress feeling not so soft anymore on top of the old crappy ones needed to be thrown into the closest landfill. As I set my tea on the nightstand next to me and take off my socks, I throw my pink plaid comforter over my worn flannel jammies, wiping my nose with another tissue one more time and tossing it in the trash can across the way.
Turning over in bed towards the Harry Potter “Hogwarts owl” movie poster hanging on my wall, I stick myself in a place between sleep and tremendous detrimental contemplation of hari kari to end my deathly sniffles. But just when I turn back over, thinking I’m finally alone in my moment of depressed solitude, Mr. Midnight is standing over me at my bedside without making a sound. I couldn’t hear him coming in, but I could sure as hell smell his elderly senior smell on him as he’s walking in like the half faced robot in that “Deep Breath” masterpiece.
“Hear me out, this is just me speaking my mind,” I moan in the groggy toad voice of a typical post-nasal sick person. “You have practically the world’s worst bedside manner.”
All this time, he’s been standing before me with a hand behind his back and the other resting on his waist, pulling back his jacket revealing the red satin lining. His hand leaves his back and rotating around forward, he holds the other cup of tea to my face. “You forgot this one when you left,” he says. “You need to stay hydrated, yeah?”
“I was saving that one for later, was gonna stick that one in the fridge,” I say. I bury my face in the Wal Mart trash pillow that used to be fluffy, but is now flat and impossible to sleep on with it giving me stiff knots in my neck and shoulders. For all I care, I wouldn’t be surprised if my head becomes a fluffed up chocolatey nougat in a low fat high sugar candy bar.
“Well, I won’t leave until you finish what you got and start on this one,” he says as if his whole plan was to get a rise out of me being the most miserable human disgrace in the galaxy. I finish the other cup of tea and lie back on the bed, hoping to let the tea do the sinus decongesting trick. But Midnight clears his throat again, tapping me on the arm, and thrusts the other warm tea mug into my hands as I’m barely sitting up to reach it.
I stare at him with all the puffiness and infected resentment I wear on my face. With however many times I used toilet paper or paper napkins to wipe and blow my nose into ear pressure mayhem, I could probably pass off as Rudolph’s junkie stepbrother, twice removed. I am so sure this is just the common cold that some chick at Sunday’s karaoke infected me with, but I will eventually find out it’s a bacterial infection in my sinus cavity moving into my chest, i.e. your basic sinus infection, but still at that yellow stage.
Just when I’m about to say something snarky that it’s only a cold, I reach for the Sudafed on my nightstand and realize all of that chicken soup, apple juice, hot tea, and bundling up in blankets and my plush green robe was for absolutely nothing. I read the box’s warning again carefully: “Do not take this medicine for longer than 2 or 3 days. If symptoms worsen or do not improve in 3 days, see your doctor.” Today is day three, proving sinusitis can get as bad as coughing or sneezing that will not leave your system by an OTC nasal decongestant alone.
“I’m not going to tell you I told you so,” is the next thing he says as my stomach turns into Mr. Grouch-Humbug with its constant groans, for I’ve forgotten to grab a little nosh for late morning-early afternoon breakfast. Just as I notice my stomach’s own Hunger Games and I begin to leave the bed again, he pushes me back down, making sure I stay down.
“Don’t you dare,” Mr. Midnight growls, his Scottish grumpiness harmonizing with my stomach.
“I’m starving, I’m going back downstairs for something to eat,” I say.
“Drink your tea first, food later.” He kneels to my level, pushing the tea closer to my lips. The tea’s pretty much turned room temperature, for it’s been sitting out all that time, so I feel the need to stick it back in the microwave for less than a minute or two. Knowing I can’t leave the bed with Bed Nazi next to me, I take a long draught of the now cold tea left over.
The post nasal doesn’t help much either and I’m coughing again in a second. “Good girl,” he says, encouraging the intake of fluids without the feel-good steamy vapors.
Reclining on my not-Down feather pillow, I wait for the man standing in front of me to pull out his sonic blinky device and turn my brain into pancakes before eventually committing to it myself while sleeping. Upon setting the tea aside and closing my eyes, instead of any brain smashing, he sits next to me on the other side of my bed and says, “Question: Do you think that my bedside manner is so terrible that hurting yourself more would change anything about that?”
“Well… yeah…” I nod.
He glances up, us both thinking that both our phrases came out wrong, which needless to say it did. “No, sorry, that wasn’t right. I’ve become Doctor Moron.”
“Sort of, yes, both of us are complete morons,” I say. I roll my eyes back into my inflamed head, letting out another groan.
“Hey, stop that,” he says, pulling my gaze in, hand behind my neck. “Look at me, quit the sobbing while you’re at it.”
“I’m tired, I’m in pain, I need aspirin,” I say, massaging my head with my free hand.
“No, the last thing you need is a pill to make that all go away, listen to me!” He grabs my attention one last time and utters something that I don’t want to hear, but something I possibly need to hear at this moment.
“You think you are always alone? Not this time, Rachel Ahrens, not this time,” he says. “Remember what I said to Clara, you have more bravery than you believe, because fear is your superpower. You’re not a monster, neither are you any of those Daleks, Cybermen, or Masters that I have fought. You are the hero in your own story, the chaotic good Time Lady in your own space adventures.”
“Which part of ‘I lost everything,’ do you not understand?” I rephrase. “I basically have no one, no job, no money, and no future. Do you really think-”
“You have a future, yes,” he says. “But I need you to find it yourself, just as I did mine, but know this. You’ve had plenty of dark times, you have so much fear, anxiety, depression, despair, all of it… but you never have to face those demons of yours alone, even within this room. Chin up, shoulders back, show yourself what you are made of. And don’t you dare hurt yourself again.”
As he’s leaving, he turns at my doorway and says, “I know you hate hearing this because you think everyone lies to you this way, but this time in all honesty… cross my hearts… you will be fine.”
“Get some rest, dear… I’ll see you on the Other Side.”
I blink and he’s gone.
Now I know I’m not delusional, I don’t hear voices or see things that aren’t there, but maybe I’ve seen too much of the series to make sense of what I’ve just fabricated and fantasized in my head. I decide that maybe I need a break from Doctor Who and just put in some stupid romantic comedy I could sleep to, like Simply Irresistible or either of the chick flicks I own that feature Ellen Page and/ or Michael Cera.
Somehow, on the contrary, I figure Mr. Midnight will be back again, hopefully not messing with my vision from inhaling nasal spray or any antibiotics I may have to take for the coughing…
Because the entire conversation we just had still takes me back to that first question that truly puzzled me in the first place… Why do we talk out loud when we know we’re alone?
Conjecture: Because we know we’re not.
Coming soon later this May: “(Don’t) Be Lasagna: The Inhaler Nightmares”