Swallowed

 

I wanted to do this scene at night because it served as a backdrop as what she feels, this all-encompassing darkness. This post serves as a window into the feelings of someone who struggles with PTSD. I like to place subtle symbolism is my story such as Zehira feels that the only family she has is the ocean and the water is where she goes to escape the memories. Then moon breaks through the fog as a sign that there is hope for her, she will be okay.

 

Zehira went to bed happy (and tipsy) that night after her girls-night-out.  She fell asleep quickly, but tossed and turned all night in a fitful sleep. She woke up a few hours later sobbing hysterically. Her heart was in so much pain that there was a physical manifestation of a dull ache. She tried like hell to calm herself down, but the feelings only grew. She rushed outside to the beach and fell to her knees in the sand, sobbing into her shaking hands. Without a moon to light to reflect off the water, the water before her was pitch black. Even the stars were covered by fog that seemed to have rolled in overnight. She splashed the cold ocean water on her face, licking off the salty water on her lips.
Her face soon became wet from the tears falling freely from her eyes. But Zehira was in too much pain from her reality of a dream that she didn’t even bother to wipe them on her night-shirt. She could feel a rising in her stomach that was timed to each hysterical sob. Her hands were shaking as she placed them on her stomach as the contents of her stomach emptied in front of her. She stood to her feet and rushed to the cold water to cup her shaking hands in an effort to wash the acid from her mouth. The salty water splashed on her face washing away the vomit from her lips. Some of the water in her mouth slipped down the wrong pipe causing Zehira to cough furiously, stopping the tears for a few seconds as she clutched her stomach. The coughing stopped long enough for her to catch her breath.

She looked upwards to the starless sky and wished that the memories would stop. As passionate as she felt about serving her country and killing the bad guys, she still saw all the casualties of war in her unit or in the form of innocent civilians. She was taught that returning home would sometimes be the best part and the worst part of the end of a tour. The best being back home with loved ones, the worst being the dreams and memories. Even though Zehira had no ‘loved ones’ to come home to, she considered the sparkling ocean in the afternoon her family. The tears had finally stopped flying out of her eyes as they finished falling into the water below. She face, still turned upwards watched the fog roll in. A break formed in the clouds above letting the moonlight stream down to the beach. Watching the waves glimmer in the moonlight, Zehira took it as a sign of hope from Heaven.Beach at night

Her hands were still shaking and her chest still felt a blunt pain heavy on her heart. She looked around her grateful that no had seen her performance. Well, almost no one. She could make out a silhouette of a person off on the distance. But, Zehira was in such a world of hurt, that she didn’t even care. She shuffled back inside her house and collapsed on the couch. She felt wired yet exhausted. Her shaking hands brought a throw pillow to her chest. Terrified of falling asleep again, she stayed awake throughout the rest of early morning. She positioned herself to look out the window at the sunrise. She sees David jogging by her house with Jedi. She watches him glance at the house as he passes by. Although she could use some company, she wouldn’t want anyone to see her in her current state. He continues jogging past her, much to her relief.  She turned her back on beach and pulled her knees to her chest, sighing into the pillow.

She stepped into the shower letting the warm water fall over her shoulders. She fingered the stitches that were basically holding her stomach together.  She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and willed herself to relax. She focused on the warm water falling down her bare shoulder and onto the gray tile below. She grabbed the bar soap from the bathroom and ran it along her wet skin. She stepped back into the warm water droplets watching the soap run off her skin and down the drain, imagining that the water was cleansing her of her inner struggle. She turned the nozzle until the water stopped falling. Pulling a plush towel from the hook outside the shower curtain she brought the towel to her face and noticed that her hands had finally stopped shaking. She stepped out of the shower and took a deep breath, allowing the steam to course through her lungs. She had always favored gym clothes over a fancy top and jeans. She ran a brush through her wet hair fingering it through her fingers. Not bothering to fix it, she let it hang loose past her shoulders. She walked into the kitchen, hoping for a small lunch now that she was hungry. She opened the fridge door but was disappointed when she found it empty. Her evening with David pretty much cleared all the food that she had previously saved. She grabbed her convertible key by the front door and slipped on her favorite flip-flops.

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