I wake-up and roll off the mattress. It is time for morning porridge. My two roommates are still asleep on the bare floor against the other wall. I guess they are not used to the system yet.
I hadn’t even thought about the fact that there was only one mattress in the room the day before when forcing them to the other side of the room. Maybe the guards will bring in more mattresses, or maybe they are only temporary visitors. Why didn’t I notice this till today?
You knew, didn’t you? You knew and you didn’t bother to say anything to me!
Well, I guess there wasn’t anything either of us could do about it anyway, so what was the point…
Why are you looking at my mattress like that? No. Don’t even think about it. I am not giving up my mattress, or sharing it.
Why are you giving me that disappointed look? This is my cell and my mattress. I have to live here.
“Oh fine! You win.” Tonight I will offer to share with them, but if I wake up and freak out because I don’t remember them; it’s all your fault!
It hits me, I can still remember yesterday. No other memories, but yesterday is still fresh and present in my mind. A gift I guess. Or, maybe I chose to forget everything, and today I do not want to forget yesterday. But why would I ever choose to forget? I guess it helps to deal with the monotony of the days spent in this cell.
Days. Years. A lifetime?
“Waaa,” a feminine groggy voice mumbles from the other side of the cell. Oh shoot, did I say that last part out loud?
I see movement, and a brown haired head rises up off the floor. Two half-lidded greenish brown eyes glare at me. “Whyare ya alwaywaking meup,”she grumbles.
“Breakfast will be here soon. Porridge. You can go back to sleep after that. Not much to do after breakfast.” I crawled to the door, ready for my bowl to come through.
Breakfast is one of my favorite meals, but their arrival yesterday apparently meant I didn’t get my daily porridge yesterday.
She’s glaring at me. Her eyebrows are creased together and she looks like she could kill… I scratch my head. The words just aren’t coming to me! I feel like this is an expression I used to know. You compare a look of anger to killing something. What though? She could kill me doesn’t work that well because obviously she can’t really, but wasn’t that the point of the expression? Shoot. I can’t remember.
A bowl slides through the slot and I grab it and scamp back to my mattress. I slurp at the tasty oats in their thick liquid. This is the tastiest and most filling meal of the day.
I lick my bowl clean, and then take a moment to look over at my guests. Nathan is sitting up now; his back against the wall and his golden hair is covering his disturbing eyes.
Lizzie on the other hand is holding a bowl with a look of disgust.
“I highly suggest eating it. It’s the best meal of the day.” I give my bowl another lick. If she doesn’t eat it I will happily take it from her. No need to waste a good bowl of porridge.
“They don’t even give us utensils to eat this with,” she says, starring at the bowl like it’s the Xatron.
“Utensils?” What the heck is she even talking about?
“You know, silverware. For example, this dish should include a spoon.” She puts one hand on her hip and gives me this look that says, ‘are you stupid or something?’
I don’t want to admit my own selective memory, so I simply shrug. Better to pretend to understand than to admit ignorance.
Nathan grabs the other bowl from by the door. I hadn’t even noticed him standing up. He lifts the bowl up to his mouth, and slurps down the meal the way I did. He even finishes by licking the bowl clean.
Lizzie is staring at him and she has this shocked expression, as if she doesn’t know him. Did she suddenly lose her memory too?
“Nathan! Why are you eating like an animal? You always yell at me about proper manners, and then you go and eat like that!” Apparently that wasn’t memory loss. That expression meant she was appalled with him. Hmm, looks similar to shock, wide eyed expression, mouth agape. I’d seen it before. I should have known.
Nathan shrugs. He points to me. What have I done?
“If she can survive here, so can we if we follow her lead. It’s time to forget the outside world and its expectations and standards. It’s time to live for ourselves,” Nathan says.
Smart man. If he wants to learn to survive, then I will try to teach him. He will be on his own soon anyway.
Lizzie shrugs, “You do what you want. I plan on getting out of here soon.” She lies down on the hard concrete on her back, and then she sits up before lying back down. She continues to do this, again and again.
“What is she doing?” I ask Nathan.
“She’s exercising. Sit-ups to be specific. Do you not remember exercising?”
I shake my head, not wanting to verbally confirm my loss of memory.
“Come on, you should do this with us. It’s healthy for you, and will help relieve your boredom once we are…” He stares at me for a second, not finishing his sentence before he lies on the ground.
I guess he doesn’t want to speak the truth, that he will soon be leaving my cell. And didn’t he just say he wanted to learn my ways, and now he is encouraging me to do this exercising thing?
With a sigh I lie down on the floor myself, and sit up, and lie back down. After a couple of these, my stomach begins to hurt, and I stop. Nathan and Lizzie are both still going.
Lizzie stops, and stares at me for a second. “Next we are doing push-ups. I will coach you on your first couple. You can probably only do a couple looking at your physical condition. Watch me do one, and then you can try to copy it.”
She flips over onto her stomach, and then lifts her entire body off the ground with just her toes and hands touching the ground. She goes back down until her body is almost touching the ground, and then she lifts herself back up.
“Now your turn.”
I try to lift myself up, and my knees stay on the ground, so I thrust my butt up to get my knees off the ground, but my strangely angles ankles simply support none of my wait causing my arms to give way. I land flat on my face, and let myself lie there.
Her mocking laughter rings across the room.
“Lizzie, be nice. I don’t think she can do normal push-ups with those ankles.” Nathan gently chides his sister.
“Sorry, it’s just funny watching you struggle with these exercises.” She scuffs her foot against the ground and I remember how young she really is.
“It’s fine. I am not bothered by your laughter.” Why would I care about minor slights?
“Here, let’s try and make this easier on you. Try these.” She lies down again, and this time she pushes up leaving her knees on the ground.
I push up off the floor, trying to copy one of her fluid movements.
“Yeah, that looks about right. Okay, so do about forty more of those.” She starts going up and down, not letting her body touch the floor.
I force myself up into the first push-up, which doesn’t seem that bad. After the fortieth one I simply let myself collapse onto the floor. These things are exhausting.
“I have one other exercise for you today. This one is called squats.” Lizzie stands up, and then stops, staring down at me. “Never mind. I keep forgetting you can’t stand.”
I shrug and crawl over to my mattress. I watch as she and Nathan continue to do these strange repetitive movements. I guess it does eat away some of the time spent in the cell.
They finish and Nathan walks over to me. “Can you teach me your meditation thing?” He asks.
“Umm, meditation thing?” I do not really understand this word.
“Yeah, the way you sit and let time pass.” He sits down next to me on the mattress, and I don’t push him away.
Tonight, I will offer to share the mattress. It is not their fault they were thrown in here with me.
But first, he seems actually interested in something I do. “Ahh, the technique where I let go of my mind.”
“Well, it is as simple and as hard as it sounds. You simply focus on nothing until you are in a trance like state without falling asleep. You have to quiet your mind, and relax your grip on your memories and thoughts.”
I let my own thoughts slide away and relax into the trance state.