The fog grew heavier at night. It was a thick white mist that made everything fade, as though they were bleached and would all eventually disappear into white, even the faint outlines erasing from the pure pale air. Anna hated when it was all foggy.
During the day, mostly, she could hold the mists at bay. Sitting in class, the air grew heavy, but when she was doing nearly anything else it was all right. When she was sitting with Sarah to eat lunch, or walking home in between classes – then everything was clear and bright. She could see without trouble and move without uncertainty. There was never any doubt about where thoughts were, or whether she would stumble over her ideas instead of finding them easily.
At night, though, the mist crowded until her thoughts were caught and pressed into the lightness of the wet air, and she wasn’t sure which way to reach for them. Today Anna had sat patiently through two classes and had quite a good conversation over lunch. She’d even held up all through dinner, though it was starting to threaten. As she walked back, still nibbling at the remains of a cookie, she watched the mist advance.
In her room, she had work to do. Putting away laundry, folding sheets, marking up a chapter for homework. She could do all of these things even though it was getting harder to move from one thought to another. The words were sinking into the background, and halfway through the chapter Anna found herself reading every sentence at least twice. The letters were there in the fog, but she couldn’t bring them any closer to her. She could almost feel the moisture clinging to her hands as she groped for expression. She gave up, eventually. Still she struggled valiantly to finish a list of the things she had to do tomorrow and what she needed to buy at the drugstore. There was one last thing, she knew. It was probably there, somewhere she couldn’t see. She went looking for it, but she always ended up trudging over too much ground and not bumping into anything, except maybe the memory of giving the wrong answer in class that morning.
Finally she put on her pajamas and admitted defeat. In the morning, maybe – and with the help of some caffeine – the air would clear. She would be able to finish her list, and remember what she needed to buy. The chapter would be easy to finish, and maybe that other reading would seem closer than it had been. She wouldn’t have to stumble blindly through the choking white while she flailed just to think. For now, though, it was night. She curled into bed and closed her eyes, and let the fog roll in to cover her.