“Meditation is better than any drug I know.” —Elvis Presley
He was breathing into a bag of stars beyond his reach. Everything out of control, like a dream. It was a dream, in fact, only one that came to life at the very same time. No distinction between waking and sleeping, which after a time became nightmare.
Escape didn't seem to be an option. He'd looked all around, dozens of times, hundreds of times, since as far back as his memory went. That's all he'd ever been doing, in fact. Looking around, seeking escape. No, it simply wasn't possible.
“Are you okay?” She was young, maybe in her thirties, and didn't wear too much lipstick as so many did these days to hide a perceived deficiency.
“I'm fine.” A lie, but one he happily offered just to see her face. She knew the game and would dote upon him despite his protestations. Sometimes she would show more than just her face, which was an added bonus.
But mostly he just slept and woke and couldn't tell the difference. He remembered having loved something once, or maybe it was someone. Another distinction he had trouble making. Things, people.
The bag of stars expanded and contracted repeatedly, his own personal big bang. It was far out there. No, man, it was far in here.
She smiled and brushed back wisps of fine brown hair. “You sure about that?”
Sometimes he could see the stars form into larger shapes, maybe galaxies. She had a mole on her left cheek. It was devastating. She was just out of reach, like the stars or the separation of sleeping from waking, of darkness from light.
“As sure,” he said with what felt like a wink, “as I am about anything.”