I’m aware of someone looming over me. I feel the weight of their shadow hover across my chest. I hear the someone swallow, a natural reflex, but alarmingly sinister as I hide behind the dark of my eyelids. I try to steady my breathing. Whoever, whatever, lurks, seems to be in no hurry to attack. The presence sits on the end of my bed. I don’t know what is going to surrender first, my heart or my bladder.
I launch open my eyes. Judd Nelson is perched on the bed by my feet. In navy blue pajamas. Sexy navy blue pajamas. He smiles. I don’t smile back, this is a dream, there is no other logical explanation. I study his face closely, I’ve never had such a high definition dream before, every wrinkle, every handsome, gorgeous wrinkle…
‘Hello.’ He smiles again.
I am mesmerized by his eyes, his deep dark brown eyes like pools of delicious chocolate…
‘Oh, this isn’t a dream.’ Judd interrupts my thoughts again.
I play along with my dream. ‘I’m struggling with this being reality.’
‘It isn’t reality.’
I sit more upright in my bed. ‘Hallucination?’
‘Nope.’ He shakes his head. ‘Nervous breakdown.’
‘I’m having a nervous breakdown?’
I smooth down the duvet covering my lap. ‘I feel quite calm for someone having a nervous breakdown.’
‘That’s because you’re in your breakdown assessment zone. Or BAZ.’
‘Are you sure this isn’t a dream?’
‘You’re definitely having a breakdown.’ He smiles again. ‘Your physical body has gone into a coma, only your mind is functioning.’
I survey my body and my surroundings. Everything is clearer and in more detail than a dream, but I can’t feel the duvet as I’m touching it.
‘You can’t feel anything physically,’ says Judd, ‘but you can feel emotions.’
‘So what happens now? We stay here in my bedroom until my body repairs itself? You are staying with me aren’t you?’
‘I’m staying for as long as you want, you created me here. And it’s not your body that needs repairing it’s your mind.’
‘How do I do that?’
‘You just need some time out, to refocus your mind, it’s a very powerful tool and can correct itself. If you want it to.’ He stares intently at me.
‘Well of course I want it to,’ his gaze is melting my internal organs, I can’t feel this physically but I know it’s happening, ‘although being trapped in my bedroom forever with you is quite tempting.’
He laughs. Loudly.
‘Oh, obviously not for you then.’ I know I’m blushing. ‘Are you even allowed your own opinion? I mean if I’ve created you shouldn’t you agree with me?’
‘I’m here as your voice of reason, subconsciously you’ve created me that way. And I didn’t laugh at the thought of being with you for eternity, that would give me the greatest pleasure.’
I don’t even care if he’s saying that because I’m making him say it. My internal organs are continuing to melt. I think I just lost a kidney.
‘I laughed because we’re not trapped in your bedroom.’ He stands and pushes his arm through the wall. It just glides through and back, like a plane through a cloud. ‘We can be anywhere you imagine. Just concentrate and focus.’
‘Concentrate and focus?’
He stands by the side of my bed. ‘Yep. Try it. Where do you want us to be?’
‘Great. Now think about the beach you want us to be at. Is it deserted or are there other people there? What season is it, hot or cold? You won’t be able to feel the temperature but it will affect the look.’
I start to imagine. My pink carpet subtly undulates. The carpet fibers change into sand, the palest beige sand, almost white. ‘Oh wow.’ The walls of my bedroom slowly dissolve revealing a beautiful blue skyline meeting an equally majestic turquoise sea that I can hear gently lapping close by. My bed morphs beneath me and I’m reclining on a padded wooden sun lounger with an identical one next to me. ‘This is amazing.’ I see a figure in the sea. ‘Is that Jenson Ackles waving at me?’
‘It is if you want it to be.’ Judd is still stood next to me. ‘Can I suggest you imagine me into beach wear, these pajamas are a bit warm.’ He winks at me.
I concentrate and imagine him to be wearing a pair of shorts and a kitsch Hawaiian shirt, bright pink and yellow. He is instantly transformed. I will save the speedo look for later.
He looks down at himself. ‘That’s better.’ He gestures to me.
I glance at my Minion pajamas, hardly suitable for this beach. I imagine a black swimming costume with a pretty floral sarong wrapped around me. I am instantly wearing this. I rearrange to sarong over my legs.
‘You look a bit self-conscious.’ Judd sits on the spare lounger. ‘I should point out that you can imagine yourself to be any shape that you want, and alter yourself in any way if it makes you feel better.’
‘Yep.’ He shrugs.
I imagine myself thinner. I watch as my body neatly deflates to a smaller size, but stays taut and reveals nicely defined muscles. ‘Oh wow!’ I convert my black swimsuit into a gold bikini. I inflate my breasts a little. And a little more. ‘Is this what heaven feels like?’
‘Yes,’ Judd stops looking at my chest and makes eye contact with me, ‘I mean I don’t know, I’ve not been there.’
‘It must be. I am in heaven right now.’ I lie back on the lounger.
‘You are feeling happy? Content? Relaxed?’
‘Yes, yes, and yes. And we can stay here for as long as I want?’
I sit back up. ‘What’s the well for?’
‘Well the longer you are not mentally connected with your physical body, I’m not sure how easy it will be to go back.’
‘I’m on a beach with you, Judd Nelson, why would I want to go back?’
‘For all that you have in your real life.’
‘Let me think about that. I’m a waitress in a dingy bar surviving day to day on tips, I’ve been single forever as I don’t trust anyone, I have no family that I speak to, and my social life consists of playing online scrabble with strangers and posting photos of food on Instagram. It kind of seems like a no brainer. What am I going to miss out on if I stay here?’
‘Food. You can create whatever food you want here but you can’t taste it. You can give us cocktails here but you can’t drink them.’
‘I can live without that.’
‘Ok, Smells. You can’t smell flowers, coffee, the sea.’
‘So, I also can’t smell nasty smells. Not a problem.’
‘Touch. You can’t feel physical touch here.’ He touches my arm, his fingers caressing my skin. ‘See.’
‘Yes, exactly, I can see you touching my arm, that makes me feel emotions, and that’s enough for me.’
‘For the rest of your life? No touching, tasting or smelling?’
‘I can see and I can hear and I can go anywhere I want and imagine anything I want. That is enough for me. This is the reality I want now.’
‘Shall I flick the switch then?’
‘There’s a switch that will cut off your mind from your body permanently, you will remain physically catatonic in hospital but exist permanently here.’
‘But won’t the hospital switch life support off?’
‘No, they will still detect brain activity so keep your body plugged in.’
‘Ok then, let’s do it.’
‘Never been surer.’ I settle back down on the lounger. ‘Flick that switch, let’s get this adventure started with a bang!’
Judd clicks his fingers. ‘Done.’
A cascade of pretty firework explosions fills the sky, but silently as I don’t like the loud noises that accompany them. A Caribbean steel band plays in the distance. I jump up to dance. My toes fall off.
Judd looks at my feet casually. ‘Ah, you’d forgotten your imagination can be a bit of a prat sometimes.’ He smiles. ‘Put them back on then.’
I look down at my feet stumps and scattered toes. I imagine them back on. My toes wriggle through the sand and back into place.
Judd stands up and moves in close to me. He wraps his arms around me, I can’t feel them but it feels good. ‘Can I kiss you?’
Melt. There goes my spleen.