If I could live and die and live to die and live again …

If I could live and die and live to die and live again …

Hibernation, she would say if ever given a wish. The fantastic world of the half-life livers, as she puts it, if only to herself. They say, she says, that bears hibernate for months at a time, sleeping, sometimes giving birth to and raising cubs until they’re big and strong enough to emerge with their mothers into the wild. The fantasy of sleeping for months on end tickles the back of her hands as she rustles from slumber at an hour too early in the morning. She rolls over, and the clock reads 0647. Far too early to emerge into the world of the real, she confirms. She knows that no one can really know for sure what those hibernating bears actually do during all of those cold months cooped up in their caves … no … dens. And the ironic thing to her is that bears are covered in enormous amounts of fur that ought to make trotting around during winter somewhat pleasant, if not, ideal. But what does she know? she asks herself.

She desires to be a hibernating animal, an animal that hibernates. The words of her mother sting her mind and echo behind her ears as she hears her mother scold her about thinking of people as animals. “We are humans, God’s beloved creations, made in His own divine, perfect image,” her mother consistently, constantly reminds whenever her mind and thus, conversation steers toward, what her mother describes as, blasphemy. Of course she knows that her mother would rather use a word like idiocy or heresy, but she must admit that her mother’s ability to refrain from vocalizing each judgment is something that could be admired if her mother were not so … intolerable. What a fucking bitch. She rolls back over to face the stone-cold wall.

Sustained by a perfect, comfortable temperature, warmly snuggled within the sheets and blankets of her bed, she closes her eyes and continues to meander down the fantasy of hibernation. Ideally, she would sleep all of the time, only waking to eat and catch a bit of fresh air. On her back now, she sprawls her arms and legs out wide in the bed, feels the weight of the massive comforter topped with a quilted blanket. Running her hands up and down her sides like making a snow angel, palms down, the fitted sheet feels warm and so soft that she barely feels them at all. Chinchilla, she imagines. It’s like running a gentle hand over a chinchilla’s fur. She watches as her hand affects, presses and moves the fur of the tiny animal. She can see that she touches the softness but does not feel the fur on her own flesh. She smiles with delight.

Magic, a sensory illusion, as she so often used to put it when walking friends and/or guests through her grandfather’s chinchilla farm. “They are not particularly intelligent,” she states in the way she has been instructed to begin such tours. Everyone knows, however, that all animals are highly adapted, therefore, highly intelligent in very specific ways that make each animal extremely unique and worthy of life. She stopped visiting her grandfather altogether at a fairly young age when she accidentally walked in on a mass slaughter/skinning. The entire process traumatized her to such an extent that she even refused to eat animals for a long time.

Her clock rings a tiny ding at the changing hour. She rolls over and decides to get up. If only hibernation were part of being human, she whispers somewhere deep inside her soul, a wish. Slowly, swinging her legs around off the bed, she slips into her slippers, reaches for the large, fluffy pink robe at the foot of her bed, throws it on over her naked body and heads toward the kitchen for a warm, caffeinated beverage.