“I was ghosting you last night because I was with someone else,” I ashamedly mumble.
“Perfect! That’s what I like to see Dan,” Chip exclaims through the small microphone embedded inside of the console. “Let’s keep that same mood going on theee…hmm, hold on lemme’, let me pull it up here. Ummm.”
“Alright, while you get that up I’m gonna take a quick bathroom break,” I say, taking the headphones off and placing them on a stool to my right, careful not to bump any recording equipment. Breath creeps in through my teeth, and I hold the air inside my chest. After only a few mere seconds, seconds that feel like minutes, no, hours, days, I release the shuddering air. Like standing on a boat that’s struggling to wrestle choppy seas, my stance slightly waves and I grab the seat to regain balance.
Chip looks up from his screen as he hears the slight jostle, “you a’right bud?” He asks me with the left eyebrow raised, appearing a little confused on what he had just missed.
“Yeah, yeah sorry, tripped on my own feet I guess.” I reply, trying to shrug off the strange spike of whirling space. “Be right back, and don’t take too long on getting that next scene pulled up.” Trying to redirect the focus with any sort of humor I can muster up.
“Oh I almost got it up here, don’t slip on your way to John. Don’t need to recast ‘cause someone bashed their head on a toilet,” he says with a wink. A little far for a joke in this, somewhat, professional setting, but I guess that is about right for Chip.
“Like you’d be able to find someone better for the job.”
“Don’t get too cocky now,” he says with a grin as he begins to turn and look at the rest of the team, motioning his finger in a circle. “Let’s just take five, yall.”
I leave a relatively wimpy laugh behind me as I step through the door and into the hallway. Carefully, I close it, trying to ease any loud sound. Yet when I turn back toward the long corridor, an expansive tunnel of light cream, it stretches farther and farther into the distance. The out of place paintings and posters melt into the lengthening abyss, and the hum of static erupts. I squeeze my eyes tightly, just long enough to relax inside the safe space of my closed eyelids. Slowly, I creep back the iris’ shades, and the walls return to focus. The cacophony of buzzing and rage soothes to silence. The hallway becomes still and lifeless. My first step is slow and controlled, but quickly each stride becomes consistent, composed.
As I walk up to the depressingly familiar restroom, I check for a small green “vacant” on the handle, which it has. Pressing my palm on the white door and pushing in, I flick the lightswitch and turn the lock. My head, and left hand, lean to a rest against the door. Letting a heavy exhale out, the air contains that same bumpy and minor rasp from before. Lifting my head up, I take a few steps towards the sink. Upon reaching it, through my arms, I set the weight of my body down on the sides. When I stare into the eyes that look back at me, they return the gaze, not with my weak and fearful glare, but with abhor, anger, malignity, and hate. The air feels like a warping spin. The mirror begins to wane and the walls behind me bend. It hugs my fuzzy brain as it begins to wilt. My head drops down ever so slightly before immediately righting itself, similar to a toddler fighting to keep awake.
My eyes scan the room, getting lost in the liquifying soft green paint. Finally, I hold back my curious mind and frantically move my tremorous hand toward my pocket. Squeezing in and grabbing tightly around a clear orange pill bottle. Rather pathetically, I start struggling with the child lock embedded inside the lid. Both of my hands are now desperately trying to pry it open. As it pops and the lid flies off, I slip in my thumb and index finger, pinching two pills and tossing them into the back of my mouth.