Paul awoke, disoriented and confused. It took him a few moments to gather his thoughts and realize where he was. He wondered how he got here. What was the last thing he remembered?
The pain…Dying in pain…Wanting to just die…Wanting to kill himself to end the pain…Immobilizing pain…Dying…
The pain was still there, but not nearly as bad. Not so bad that he couldn’t move. He crawled slowly down from the hood of his car and started walking towards the front door of his house. Every step he took made his head pound like somebody was slamming the sides of both fists against the sides of his head. For that moment, as much as it was barely tolerable, Paul loved that feeling – it meant that he was alive; that he didn’t die. He wondered how long he had been lying out here on his car. It was still dark, he reasoned, so it couldn’t have been that long, four or five hours maybe. The sun would be coming up soon. He still felt exhausted and dizzy, and his head was starting to feel worse again, now that he was up and moving. He knew he needed to get in the house and lie down. As he walked in the living room, he glanced at the clock to see what time it was. It showed a little bit past ten…but that didn’t make any sense. He had left for the party with Tom and Bryan around ten-thirty that night; if it was ten in the morning, the sun should be out. He stumbled into the kitchen to check a different clock. It showed the same time. Paul suddenly realized that it wasn’t early Saturday morning. The sun wasn’t coming up in an hour or two; it had already risen and set again. It was Saturday night – he had been sleeping on the hood of his car for nearly twenty-four hours – and he was still so exhausted he felt like he was going to collapse on the spot. He was also parched beyond belief, like someone had sucked all the fluids out of him. He realized his clothes were soaked in sweat. He felt his lips and could tell they were chapped and cracked with pieces of dried up dead skin hanging on them. Going into a panic, he grabbed the first tall glass he saw – an unwashed one on top of a pile of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink – and filled it with cold tap water. He drank it down in two seconds. Then he drank a second…and a third…and a fourth. He staggered to his bedroom and crawled on top of his bed still wearing his sweat soaked clothes and closed his eyes. Just as he was starting to go under, he heard a knock at the front door and a voice. He could tell it was Karen. “Hey Paul, are you there? Is everything alright?” That was the last thing Paul remembered when he woke up Sunday evening.
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