You’re in a car, and you’re going somewhere important. It’s a huge event, or gala, or hiking expedition, or festival, and you’re excited to go. Not only because of its exclusivity and glamour, but because of who you’re going with. You turn, and it’s her, and you don’t know her very well, and never particularly cared to, but in this moment, you are glad she is making overtures to be your friend. This is her car, you suddenly realize. It is less a car, and more a rolling engine, suspended on wheels, with a seat and handlebars on which you are both perched, more akin to a merry-go-round seat than the interior of a vehicle. If there are doors or windshields, they are inconsequential to the point of invisible. It is daylight, purple-reds and amber-greys roiling on the distant horizon. You do not know what day it is or what city you are in. She is talking merrily to you, in that voice that has always grated on you, with its familiarity and nasal, island grit. The day is mild. You are both pregnant, no, only she is pregnant, and you have a baby - Eve! - you have Eve at home, a blinking, blinding bastion of truth in this world of tissue paper artificiality. You still feel pregnant, somehow. Vulnerable and bulbous. Waiting.
They told you to come here, or perhaps they invited you. She’s been there before, she chatters, and you watch the miles her tiny car-not-car is eating, on tawny dirt road that kicks dust into the still air. It is growing steep, and she talks and talks and talks as you both make the gradual ascent, the edges dropping off and the road beneath you tightening until you see it, the ghastly gorge below, on either side, beautiful terrible in all of that purple and amber, and the grass in the valley sways like thousands of spectators, raising their arms as they watch you climb. The road curves wide and then suddenly, a slick curl that sends your stomach into the kind of dive that seems inevitable, now, and she is somehow unbothered - “Yeah, it is sort of steep here” - and you clench your toes, and fingers, and guts, as you are suddenly both hanging, the back of your heads facing the drop, your seats at a 90 degree angle and the car dissolves beneath the force of gravity, and somehow you are hanging, suspended, your hands clutching at the handlebars that secured your lap. You cannot scream, you cannot scream, you have to scream, you are going to die-
You don’t die.
You’re back in the ballroom and she is unrepentant, unshaken. You stumble away from her, looking for Eric, holding your belly, hearing the echoes of your silent screams, the gentle whisper of wind that threatened to carry you down, down, to your death. All of that open air, that road that fell away. You are here, on solid ground, in this grey city, in a room of marble and crystal, and he is there, and he is there, the rich men who invited you, who told you to go. The bridge does not always hold, they tell you, smiling comfortingly, and you think, what bridge? And you wonder, was it a bridge? You can’t find Eric, and you just want to get home, you need to see your daughter. You could have died, and left them alone. You have not pumped enough breast milk to leave now, you think to yourself, the thought spearing through the muffled din of the party. You still aren’t sure where you are. Is it raining?
He looks at you, and his eyes are glass and granite. He does not mean you well, you realize, and feel cold. Eric is here, finally, and you clutch him, grab him, force him toward the exit. You are no longer welcome, and that is obvious. The other patrons, glittering in their satin and disdain, become vultures in the mirrors, giant gawking things with talons and soulless, gaping mouths. They are beautiful and tall and violent. The sky turns, churning, and the curtains inside turn with them, chandeliers crashing to the floor as they laugh, turn their pointed eyes to you. They want to crush you, eat you, claw at you. You are finally outside. Eric is talking to you, but you can’t hear him. You can’t hear anything above the rush of traffic, the boiling saltwater sky. Is it raining? You have to get home. You can’t remember where it is.