The cell is all I know. Brick walls on four sides, and a single window at floor level my only source of light. I’ve lost all track of time, not knowing the passage of days, only counting meals. Does the gruel come twice a day, once? Does it even matter?
It’s difficult to tell if I am alone in this gulag. I hear noises that could be from other cells, but are so inhuman I don’t want to think about what has become of my fellow prisoners.
The guards who patrol the grounds don’t speak to us. I haven’t heard another’s voice since I awoke on the cold, damp floor of my cell.
I once tried to recite all the songs and stories I knew, trying to keep a tenuous hold on my sanity. I stopped speaking aloud when I no longer recognized the sounds as words.
The memories faded, the libretto lost in the echoes, and I gave up, surrendering my mind to the darkness.
My only refuge is sleep. In my dreams, I am unbound. Running joyfully across open fields of cornflowers. Soaking in the sun and fresh air, breathing in the heady sweetness of freedom. I wake sobbing, not wanting to leave that reality.
Is this cell, this ungodly prison, my the actual dream? A recurring nightmare, and that field of blue is my true life? It’s so hard to separate the two. My nightmares have become less harsh. I spend it curled up in a corner, hiding from the cries from outside, trying to empty my mind of chaos so I can return to my place in the sunlight.
One day soon, the nightmares will finally end, and I can stay in the field, weaving wreaths of blue for my hair. Perhaps today will be that day.