“Bad night?” Trent sat on the edge of Drew’s bed, old bones making the process slow. He must really be feeling his age. The little closet of a room didn’t have a chair.
“Yeah.” Drew moved to make room, getting caught in the covers and having to grope for the sheet because he’d disarranged them so badly over night. “Brutal.”
“So the stuff the shrink prescribed didn’t do it this time either.”
“Yeah.” Giving up on the bedding, Drew dragged himself to the wall where a headboard would be if the bed consisted of more than a couple of mattresses and a bedrail. “And I guess it’s the end of the line. She said this was the last possibility.”
“Then maybe it’s time to start thinking a different way. Maybe the hallucinations are just part of who you are now.”
“Who I am? No, no.” Drew shook his head violently, then regretted it. “The psychiatrist said the same thing, but I can’t accept it. This mentally crippled thing that I’ve become…. It’s not me. It was never me.”
“Are you so sure?” This a grunt and a groan, Trent shifted around to put his back against the wall, too. “The mind is a big place. Plenty of room for personality traits to hide out in.”
“Are you saying I had latent insanity just waiting for an excuse to come out?” Drew let himself sound every bit as offended as he felt.
“Sure. Why not? Don’t we all?” Trent offered a half-smile as if that would be enough to make everything alright.
Drew closed his eyes and sighed. When Trent got hippie-philosophical, there was no way to make him see reason. It always ended with Drew forced to admit there were stranger things in the world, and maybe Trent had a point. Maybe.
“Why did I let them transfer me? I’m such an idiot. Everything would have been fine if the agency had let me stay in Wisconsin. Or if I hadn’t tried to do field work and ended up smoking that China Black laced joint…”
“The world is an iffy place.” Trent smiled and nodded as if that event hadn’t been devastating. At least he didn’t go into the Maybe It’s Fate argument the way Sonoma would. “So, when are you going back? To Suzie, I mean. It’s painful watching you moon over her.”
“I’ll go when I’m not hallucinating anymore.”
“But we just established that isn’t going to happen. You’re going to hallucinate your way through the rest of your life.”
Drew flinched. He knew it already. Hadn’t he tried everything possible to make them go away? Instead, all he’d done was to learn how to live through them, as if walls that melted and people who weren’t really there talked to you normally, how to hide it.
That and he’d gotten better at differentiating between hallucination and reality. Or maybe it was simply that the people he lived with now weren’t all that picky about what was real and what wasn’t. Drug use here was rampant and casual. So was a variety of forms of out and out insanity. His problems faded to the background with Squirrel Girl around.
“How much longer are you planning on waiting? ‘Til the snow melts? Which snow?”
When Trent asked, it could mean the snow on the ground right now, the snow that would be there next year, or the snow in Drew’s head.
“Yeah,” Drew said a touch belligerently. “When the snow melts.” He’d leave it to Trent to figure out which snow.
“Man up, my boy. The love of your life isn’t going to wait forever.”
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