Sleeping Beauty

For IceCreamGirl's contest. Eva's always been alone and dealt with her attacks on her own. Until she blacks out in Starbucks and wakes up one year later, married.


1. Sleeping Beauty


My condition had always scared people. How I acted, how I looked. I couldn't give a damn though. But this was the first time it had ever scared me. 

I blacked out at Starbucks. Got down on the floor and laid down, because I knew an attack was starting, and I didn't feel like adding a concussion to my repertoire as well. My eyes are closed, but I can still hear and smell the coffee, hear the buzz and bustle, although it's all fading in and out of my consciousness.

That's all I can remember, until I wake up in a bed. Next to him. And he swears that I came onto him, and yes we used a condom, but we've been together for over a year now and for Christ's sake, Eva, don't I recognize him? Except I don't. And then he says come with me, so I follow him out of the bed, dressed in this skimpy nightgown, into what is our apartment.

There's photos everywhere. Of us. A white dress and a veil on me, tuxedo on him, and I look down at my left hand, and there it is. How can I be married without realizing it? I search my memory for some form of cognitive recognition but there is none. I just remember the smell of coffee, that cardboard cutout at Starbucks and that's it. I curl into a ball and cry. He rubs my arms and back, calling me baby, holding me close, and I wonder if I loved him once upon a time as Sleeping Beauty but I'm so detached from it all.

I've known since I was twenty,  known about Kleine-Levin syndrome, although that was the year I moved out of my parent's house. And it's just gotten progressively worse as I've gotten older, waking up twenty pounds heavier after three months of not knowing what happened, forcing me to leave cameras in my entire apartment to find out what exactly I do during attacks, only to rewind them days later and find myself compulsively masturbating, humping the table-tops, countertops, anything for release. Find myself dragging random strangers in and out, even making inappropriate advances on my friends, things I never remember doing. Eating compulsively, massively, gaining weight, and being forced to diet like crazy when I wake up. I've never blacked out for a year though. So much lost time. I pinch my tear-strewn face in the mirror. I might wake up with wrinkles. I might wake up pregnant next time. I turn to the couch to see my new husband with his head in his hands, and the emotions crush me. He's not bad looking at least, I think, trying to find the silver lining in this cloud that's descending over both of us.

"Where did we meet?" I ask, and he raises a red-rimmed eye.

"Starbucks. You blacked out, and then as I was calling an ambulance, you got back up, and then just latched on to me. I took you to your home, made you some food, made sure you were alright, and, well.." His voice wobbles with unshed tears. "Do you really not remember anything?"

I move to the couch. Hold this man close to me, because right now I need comfort as much as he does. His stubble gently scrapes my arms, and I brush my fingertips against his hair. Right now, we need each other.

"I'm confused. I may have loved you or even said I loved you, but it wasn't me." I tell him. How do you tell someone who's in love that the person they loved may not have even existed? "I have a rare disease that makes me lethargic. Sometimes I sleep a lot, for days even. And sometimes, while I'm sleeping, I walk around like I'm awake and I suffer from hypersexuality."

He can't believe this. I feel him shudder beneath me as the weight of my words sink into his skin, seep into his bones. "I guess it was a mistake to live alone after all," I mention to myself mostly. "But I couldn't stay with my parents anymore. They treated me like a freak. I know they loved me, but they were holding me back like I was disabled. I hated that."

He moves away from me, staring into my eyes, and he has the nicest green eyes I've ever seen, green like the ocean on a stormy day. Good job to me, at least, for landing an extremely attractive husband. I look down at myself. Hmm. Surprisingly, I don't seem to have gained any weight from the attack. He smiles at me sadly.

"I guess I'd better introduce myself again. Start over." I am silent. It wasn't his fault. I'm hurting him. I smile at him.

"I guess you'd better. Because I don't know your name." He laughs, but it's more of a choke than a laugh, as if he's choking back tears.

"My name's Adam. I work in Accounting for Merril-Lynch. Nice, stable job. It's gotten me this apartment, anyway. We're in New York City still, so you haven't moved. Your parents approve of me, they think that I'll take good care of you, although now I understand what they meant. They meant a babysitter. Not a husband." He is bitter. Of course. My parents knew and didn't disclose to him. I touch his arm softly. 

"They probably thought I'd told you." I smile sadly. "I've never even had a boyfriend before. Never let anyone close because I knew I'd hurt them like I've hurt you."

And here we are now, sitting close together but so far apart, so far apart that the words between us are left unspoken and we were once so close, so close I'm sure, but now we're distant, and it all hurts more than I can imagine, and I have known him for all of thirty minutes.

"I don't know when the next attack will happen," I tell him. "Typically I have a long episode, and then short ones for a while. But I guess we'd better get divorced in the meantime." Divorce. What an ugly word. 

To my surprise, Adam shakes his head no. 

"I don't care if you have this disease and I have to date you all over again in between your attacks. I'm not leaving you."

And then I can feel myself blacking out again, so I lay back down on the floor and hear the murmurs of the crowd and one lady saying, 

"Oh my god, is she alright?" The smell of Java is permeating the air, and I wait several more moments before letting the light hit my irises, and I look straight into green, concerned eyes, and their owner helps me up. A cutout of a coffee cup lays to my left, alongside a crowd of concerned caffeine addicts.

"Miss, are you alright? I've called an ambulance, but uh, I don't think you'll need it now. My name's Adam."


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