Chapter 4: Freedom
She awoke in a haze of confusion, unsure of everything that had transpired, and its basis in reality. She felt as though something was different, but she wasn’t sure what that something was, or how it related to her. Everything was beginning to feel like some kind of odd dream, as if she had lost her grasp on reality again. The sheets of this bed felt unfamiliar, starched and white as could be, with just a hint of bleach wafting through the air. She was lying in bed, looking at all of the items in the room that she didn’t recognize, amazed she had gotten there, and was living in a fantasy, even for just one day.
She decided it was time to get out of bed, and begin her day, with a trace of subtle hope in her heart that today would somehow be great, better than the days before. She hoped that today would be truly memorable, and she would finally experience happy moments and meet people, and see places, that she would remember for the rest of her life, however long or short that may turn out to be. She walked to the curtains that hung over the window, opening them with a touch of unnecessary dramatic flair, and allowed her eyes to take in the sights that were outside her window all around her. Sometimes, waking up and seeing something unexpected can be a truly beautiful gift, and she felt that way right now, as her eyes perused the different landscape that lay outside her tiny room. She nearly forgot the usual part of her routine, as she was taken aback by the reality of the situation she was currently in. How had this even happened, she wondered to herself, lost in the daydream of an early morning in an unusual place. She felt nearly happy, at least for a few minutes, until that sinking, aching feeling returned to her stomach, and slowly began to consume her again, something she was all too familiar with. An odd feeling, one she had most mornings, that she couldn’t quite explain, and couldn’t quite shake. Something just felt off, wrong, odd somehow, yet she never could figure out why. It seemed no matter where she was, that aching was sure to follow, its loyalty was almost admirable, she had to admit; that pain, that sadness, might be the most loyal thing in her life, and that made her horribly sad. She thought, being there, all of this would be left in the past, but alas, it followed, as she knew it would.
Charlie walked away from the window, to the bedside table where her small toiletries bag was. She reached in, and removed her all too familiar bottle, the one she’d sworn she wouldn’t bring, but did anyway because she couldn’t help herself. She prepared to count out seven pills, those seven pills, the ones that she had always counted every morning before, as part of her morning routine. She counted, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and laid them on the nightstand next to her bed, here in this lovely hotel room. She thought coming here would change everything, and suddenly she’d have the realization that life was worth living. But that feeling, that aching sadness could not be defeated, not even here. She was suddenly startled by the alarm on her phone going off, although she didn’t remember setting it; must be left over from the days before, she thought to herself. However, the alarm was not needed, as she had woken up 10 minutes before the alarm went off, as was usual for her; it was a familiar, almost comforting feeling, knowing that she always woke up without the help of her alarm, no matter what day it was, or where she happened to be. She walked to the bathroom, preparing to shower just like she did at home, prepared to live her last day, as Big Ben struck seven times; one, two, three…