The world reassembled as my eyes opened. I was looking up at a plain white ceiling, smooth with no cracks—not my bedroom ceiling. My gangly 14-year-old body was lying on a bed covered by a sheet and thin blanket, dressed in baggy blue-striped pajamas—definitely not my pajamas. The room had a faint disinfectant smell and it was empty except for the bed and a wooden bedside table. Like the room, my head was empty, a sort of peaceful blank—nothing there except stillness.
A thought popped into my mind: I’m in hospital. With it came a feeling of swimming up from the depths, gasping for an illusory breath as though I’d been far away. Another odd-shaped thought slipped into my mind: I’m still alive.