Laughter from inside the apartment. Jane felt the music, the voices pulling her back in. She needed another beer, in any case. She reached down to the plastic table where she had laid her empty beer bottle, then stood back up and laughed to herself on remembering Wings had already taken it inside.
She turned towards the screen door leading to the kitchen, when the sound of a truck engine caught her attention. The alley . . . she drifted back to the handrail on the balcony, looked down into the darkness of the alley, her eyes tracing the fading darkness as it disappeared into the bright lights of the Chicago street.
Struck by a sudden impulse that she wouldn’t understand later, she leaned forward, her stomach pressing firmly yet safely on the wooden handrail, and spread her arms wide, her head tilting back as she closed her eyes and focused on the sounds around her — the music and laughter behind her, the scuffling of feet in the alley beneath, the traffic from the street, even the distant sound of jet engines high above her. A few weeks earlier she would have looked down from where she was standing and seen an abyss, dark and foreboding, but now she knew that were she to open her eyes, the darkness would be just as thick as it had been before, but the menace was no longer there.
Yes, the future was uncertain. Jane knew there was a chance she would wake up tomorrow morning, or the next, and the world that she remembered would suddenly come back, making this world she’d lived in the past several months, with its amazing computers and phones but Flinstonesque transportation, seem like an unpleasant dream. Or maybe that day would never come, that she would remain in this world that was so familiar, yet so strange. But as she closed her eyes and spread her arms wide, she did not care. She wanted to embrace the darkness, face whatever bizarre twist of fate it would throw at her next. She wanted to drift into the darkness, let it take her wherever it may, even if it took her to a land without mosquitos.
End of “Summers”