Bodies get tired. Too much work. Too much travel. Physical pain gets unbearable. Was this physical pain Ria was feeling?
The room felt too small. Maybe it was. New places felt simultaneously too big and too small whenever she found herself in them. A cigarette butt was jammed into the air vent on the floor. Had someone been on a spiritual journey in this room? The thought exhausted her.
A nurse put her hand on top of Ria’s with the same gentle touch as a grave robber. Building trust like a good human.
“Ria, as you know it takes guts to come here. So thank you for bringing them in.”
Ria’s eyes shifted to the corner of the room where her open suitcase overflowed with guts.
“Here at Don’t Fade Away, Person…”
Ria struggled to pay attention as she noticed the nurse’s hair turning gray.
“We’re all about life in this world, Ria. Your life.”
Someone was whistling in the hall. A janitor? The tune sounded familiar to Ria’s ears.
“As you know,” the nurse continued, “we’re the thirty third ranked rehab in the region for world displacement recovery. We treat you like we’re licensed professionals thanks to our dictionary of rehab lingo.”
Was it a tune to raise the dead?
“We take Interdimensional Lethargic Blues Syndrome very seriously…sometimes. So lucky you.”
Traveling across dimensions back and forth. The years (had it been years?) were piling up. For now she would stop. Ria knew this was a temporary fix. Just something to remove the contamination before she continued on her journey. Maybe the tune was an old Christmas carol?
“We have plenty of experience with philosophers, buddhists, skinwalkers, liars.” The nurse was in the doorway now. Her hair back to its original chestnut brown. “Before you know it you’ll be good as used. Even get your shadow up and running.”
She closed the door behind her.
Ria dragged her shadow over to the door and pressed her ear to it.
Listening to the janitor’s tune.
Her eyes shut.
A monk sat with legs crossed in her mind.
His chanting dissolved into a whistling.
In an instant he dematerialized.
Her eyes opened.
The tune faded down the hall. Ria looked at the crooked sign on the back of the door. “Don’t Fade Away, Person.”