I didn’t linger. The quest had sapped me of a lot of energy, even more so than normal. It was more than the physical drain of running amok in a virtual world or my teammates still warming up to me; today, I actually think I made a little bit of progress in showing them that I wasn’t a liability; that investigation in the dungeon and finding of the white glove at least told them that I knew what to do when supporting a teammate in need. No, it was more than that.
I managed to stumble out of my Cloister relatively quickly. Trying my best to put one foot in front of the other and focus on my destination, I stumbled to my dorm; stealing a glance behind me, I noticed that the others were only just getting out of their Cloister’s as I reached the exit. I made good timing.
I was frustrated but I didn’t know why. Hormones or something, probably. Outside of the team dynamics, spending time with Sora was oddly aggravating. He went from being in my corner to being bossy and demanding like the others. I thought we were equals but I supposed I was wrong. It irked me.
Getting back to my dorm, I was pleased to find that my roommate wasn’t here. He hadn’t been around for the last few days; I figured that he had a trip of some kind, I wasn’t sure since I was so preoccupied with my own life. I should ask him when he returns.
I closed the blinds but I was so tired that I didn’t even bother stripping down. I just climbed into bed and slept deeply.
Resting comfortably underneath the blankets, sleep didn’t come for a while as I was so awash with conflicting feelings. On some level, I knew I was being selfish, that in-game, I truthfully didn’t know what I had been doing and that had slowed down Sora and I’s progress. But, at the time, I honestly thought that I did know what I was doing and that I would end up saving us a lot of time. Unconsciously, I knew that Sora was justified in pushing me to do what he knew was the correct way to solve the puzzle, but he was just so uncompromising about it. He started to yell at me and there wasn’t any sense in arguing. He just forced. I was just trying to help.
Sora didn’t need to be so harsh. He didn’t even bother investigating that glove I found, he just hung back pretending he already knew everything like the smug bud that he was; never even thanked me, in fact, for killing that monster. I killed it and helped him whittle it down— even threw him that healing herb when I wasn’t investigating that pedestal— and he didn’t even thank me once. What the fuck?! Is that how Sora thanks his teammates?
Thinking about it led me down darker, angrier paths, but I was exhausted. I tried to block it out. I needed rest. I forced myself to muse on something else; some absurd phantasy. Gradually, I fell asleep.
I rested like a rock. Though after I woke up I noticed an intense wet spot on my pillow indicative of thick streams of drool, a sure fire sign of deep rest, during the actual act I was lost in my own world. I mildly came to several times when I slept but I quickly fell back into dreaming; I allowed the two realities to wash over me, blending together into an indistinct unity. Whenever I would wake, I thought nothing of it and returned easily to the dream. This continued for what I thought was days.
After I had finished my dreaming, of which I couldn’t remember anything distinct, I simply lay awake; fully rested, I was no longer intent on sleeping. It was likely the early morning hours so I would need to get ready for the day soon. In the meantime, I just stared at the ceiling and thought. I didn’t think of anything in particular. I just ruminated on time, people, and the layers of history, generations of students that had used this very dorm before I or my roommate had ever even been conceived. What had happened here? What dramas and celebrations had occurred here, stuck between its walls? I would never know.
Sitting upright and getting up from the bed, I was about to find some clothes to put on before I remembered that I was still wearing my previous day’s clothes. Time saver, I reckoned. I would just wear this set today; I only had my Interactive Seminar session today and it was supposed to be a short class.
I opened the blinds and checked my email. The time was 4:47 am. Emails were the typical run-of-the-mill list-serv expectations. Nothing exciting was ever in my school email, or any email, for that matter; nothing like communiques from friends or classmates or a notification that I had a refund check in the Student Finance Center. Nah. Just your workaday obligations.
Closing my computer about ready to head down to the dining hall to grab some breakfast, I noticed a slip of paper adjacent to my door. Someone must have slipped it under while I slept. Picking it up, I read it.
“Reno, we should talk. —Sora.”