Sherri puts an arm around me like Carlos was never allowed to in the hospital, tucking my shoulder into her flabby armpit. She feels like dough taken out of the oven too early, and she smells like sea salt and basil, and I dread what she's been cooking while I've been in the hospital.
"Getting drowsy?" she asks, or prods. I can't tell which. I used to be able to. The differences used to annoy. Before these new drugs.
"Nah," I say, shaking my head briskly, trying to wake myself up. I get more tired with every swipe of my head. Dr. Preisblatt's drugs have reversed the way my body wants to act. "I'm good. I'm great. I'm the best." I repeat things more often now.
"Because you look drowsy. It's about time you slept."
"I'm not going to sleep before you," I say to my chest. I didn't even realize my chin was down there again. Jesus wept. I scratch at the bandages, and I think I feel a suture slip. It's like the release of a pinch.
Sherri pinches my cheek, probably because it'll annoy me. It doesn't. The drugs don't let it, but I remember that it would have annoyed me three weeks ago. I pinch her cheek and we snort with laughter together.
"Thirty-six hours with no shut-eye is bad," Sherri says in a tone that can't be suggestive to me right now. "And you're too tense. Your shoulders are like one of those bridges."
Like she is testing my shoulders with her armpit. Sherri was always a weirdo. I explain, "I don't like being asleep when other people aren't. It's... complicated."
"A Facebook status is complicated," she says. "You've got trust issues."
"Dr. Preisblatt tell you that?" I ask her, but also my lap. I forgot to put my skirt back on. This should feel awkward. It's wrong that I'm not embarrassed.
"You had them in high school. Remember when you'd sneak into the boys' bathroom to piddle?"
"Because there was no one in there. Is it a crime to pee alone? I hope you didn't spread that around."
"And I watched out for you then." She plucks my bangs and tucks them behind one of my ears. She's trying to give me a look and I can't read it no matter how much I blink. "So... let me. Okay?"
"Whoa, did Dr. Preisblatt tell you? She's not allowed to fucking talk to you. That's privileged something-something."
"She said you trust me. And you told her the bathroom story."
"I don't trust that quack anymore," I say, or I almost say, until I interrupt myself with a yawn. It's a ripper of a yawn, and my eyes squeeze closed. When they open, Sherri is smiling into my face. Her mouth is so close that even the drugs can't suppress recognizing that dopey jack o'lantern smile. It's awesome to remember feelings.
She asks, "Do you trust me?"
"Don't yeah-sure. Do you?"
"Yeah," I say, and have to clamp my mouth shut to stifle the 'sure' follow-up. It's natural, not snark. I'm not always good with processing things, which has been evident recently. My wrists itch, and I reach for one of them, and Sherri intercepts my hand, hugging me into her doughy side. She smells more like brine than sea salt. Maybe she's found a new place to swim while I was in the hospital, better than the local beach full of broken shells that cut up your feet.