Helen felt the bedroom walls closing in on her, and she pressed her pillow tightly to her face in order to scream without alarming the neighbors. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut, but the sandpaper feeling wasn’t ready to go away just yet. Too many tears, too little time.
She twisted in bed to pull the comforter over the lower half of her body, the cold part. That only lasted half an hour or so before her feet started sweating, but it was too much effort to kick the cover off. So she dealt with it. That’s just how it is now, she thought. Sweaty feet and screamy pillows. The left side of her mouth curved in the biggest part of a smile that she could manage.
The inside of her eyelids was made of wool. They felt like that sweater her aunt had gifted her when she was nine years old, the one her mother forced her to wear to the family get-together, the one that left her welted and red for days afterward. Her corneas felt abraded.
But her eyes still worked. She turned her head and looked at the jewelry box on top of her dresser and thought about the pearl earrings inside. The gift from her other aunt, her favorite aunt when she still had favorite anythings. Helen reached up to fondle her earlobe, wondering if she could even still wear earrings. It had been years since she’d bothered to pretty herself up at all.
Depression is a bastard. Helen had never gotten over that trip to Venezuela, but that wasn’t the cause, simply the trigger. Helen felt the bedroom walls closing in on her, and she pressed the pillow tightly to her face.