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Just a dream

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„I thought it was a dream“, Sarah says one morning, lying next to him in the bed of yet another nondescript hotel room. Her mouth is so close to the white pillow that her words are almost swallowed up, her back is turned to him. By all means it should make her nervous, and it used to, but not anymore. The knife underneath the pillow is not for him.

“Qué?” he mumbles, voice still heavy from sleep. She hears him turn around on the mattress to face her. The passing of time has given them these moments, these small glimpses at another life where they are not constantly alert, waiting for something to happen. Waiting for something bad to happen. High strung, high on adrenaline, pushing past the exhaustion that has permanently settled in their bruised and broken bodies. There are those moments, but there is also this.

She doesn’t fool herself into thinking he could be easily overpowered now. He’s a player, and as such he is never completely unguarded, just like herself. She doesn’t fool herself into thinking she still wants to.

“For one moment when I woke up, I thought everything was just a dream.”

He doesn’t ask what ‘everything’ is and she doesn’t say. Some words do not have to be spoken aloud when they’re already hanging over them like Damokles’ sword.

The game. The game to end all games. Endgame.

Jago hums in acknowledgement. He doesn’t touch her, and she’s glad. He’s not one to touch for comfort, he still trusts that she can hold herself together, all these broken, jagged pieces of herself.

He doesn’t say “But then I’d never met you”, either. He knows that if there was the smallest chance to turn back the time, she’d cross the darkest hell to make it so. He knows that he has been lucky, that he has not lost like she has lost, that he never lost himself.

Instead he says “We should get moving”. He’s right of course. It’s also what she needs to hear. She hears him swinging is legs over the edge of the bed and walk into the bathroom, not bothering to close the door behind himself.

He’s still limping, still favoring his right leg, always in these little moments when he thinks she can’t see, and she can’t, but she still knows. Yes, better to keep moving, better be a moving target than a still one. Better still to have someone else be the target. Be the arrow instead, the bullet, the knife.

She drags her tired body out of bed in one continuous motion, slipping out underneath the covers, slipping into the clothes from the day before (and the day before that), slipping the knife into her boot.

Maybe she can hold the pieces together a little while longer. And maybe that will be all she needs.