She stands uncertainly inside the cubicle, exposed to light from a dozen UV tubes.
Machinery hums softly, the seconds tick away.
A narrow slit connects her to the outside world.
Friends have seen her skin, inflamed and bleeding, her swollen eyelids. She hasn’t mentioned synapse pain, the 2am, 3am, 4am explosions waking her, holding back the edge of sleep, just out of reach.
She hears the hum die down; the door swings open.
Gentle hands steady her, lift the visor, remove her goggles.
Back on terra firma, the treatment room, she dresses slowly.
The techie’s voice reminds her to shower cool, to wear soft clothes, to moisturise.
‘Let me know if you are sore, just call.’
She wonders what she’s done to deserve such kindness or is this simply how the world should be?
And even though her treatment’s hardly started something breaks inside. She dreads its ending.
- by Angi Holden