My mouth tasted like screaming. Everything was silent but I could still feel the hum of the scream on my teeth and in my fillings. The darkness I woke up to was hollow and foreign although I could smell my bedding surrounding me. I stared into the black and waited to feel settled in my own flesh again.
I tried to remember the last time I felt settled in my skin. Remembered childhoods spent skipping through sprinklers in tiny bikinis and never sparing a thought about if my stomach was sticking out. Popping a blood blister in my palm while on the monkey bars, blood pouring down to my elbow until it stained the teal dress I was wearing. I remembered trying to find my mom in the crowd of people at the park, blood drifting further down from my hand and no one coming to help me. It was the first time I felt alone and vulnerable.
I felt it again as I sat in my bed, blood peeking through the center of my lip where I’d peeled the skin while I slept again. I gripped the edges of my blanket and licked the blood off slowly, letting the taste of copper replace the taste of screaming. I’d hoped I’d only screamed in my dream and not in real life. Then again, nobody was dashing into my room to hold me this time either.