My eyes twitched. The eyelids and lashes seemed incapable of independent movement. How long had I been asleep? Had I been asleep? Like paper tearing my eyes began to open. It was dark except for some lights off in the distance that were moving away from me. It took me a few seconds to realise I was doing the moving and not them. Moving my head pained me. Each turn felt like a lead ball was rolling loosely inside my brain. The low hum of voices began to register with me. I was still on the bus.
Looking to my left I saw that the twins had now moved to the front seat opposite mine. Grinning, with their big cartoon heads bobbing up and down with the movement of the bus. Neither of them said anything, but they held their gaze at me, almost willing me to fully take in my surroundings. That lead ball rolling around inside my head had now shifted its weight to my forehead causing my head to drop. I breathed in deeply, making a wheezing sound. What was that taste in my mouth? Dropping my head to my lap, I spat out. The spit landed between my feet. My shoes? I was wearing backless slippers. I recognised my own black socks, but why were my feet tied together with what looked like laces. I tried to push my feet apart. The laces cut into my ankles and the lead ball rolled back and a little and then crashed bang into my forehead. My head began to swim. I inhaled deeply, trying to prevent the onrushing vomit from spurting forth. Again, my eyes glued shut. I could hear giggles coming from the twins. My stomach contracting I began to vomit, stopping it in time. A burning acid taste invaded my mouth. My nostrils filled and little bubbles popped out. Again I tried to pull my ankles apart.
– Those are my slippers. I normally don’t wear shoes when I’m travelling. I find my feet swell up something terrible.
An arm was now around me and my back was gently being patted. I wanted to straighten up to see who this was, but the voice was unmistakeable. And the shoes. Those were my shoes. But not the laces. Not white laces with black shoes.