you wake up (not to your usual alarm not that collapsible travel clock with the peeling backlight button and the tinny morning wailing shattering the icy stillness of winter mornings) but an unfamiliar beep-beep-beep that faintly reminds you of a tv show you used to watch together but you don't know why it's so hard to open your eyes or why every muscle fiber in your face must rally and strain to do this but they are opening now with agonizing slowness to a light so white it blinds you and then above you there is a face and you think that it might be him hovering in to kiss you through those sunday afternoons you slept in late but the light is rearranging itself into crystalline points and his face is falling into anxious lines that belong to a stranger this man above you wearing a surgical mask and his gloved hands are cold probes against your skin and you try to find some words to form but there is a tube in your mouth and it stifles every question and somewhere distant a woman’s nasal voice complains oh it’s raining i better check my car windows and then a memory collides into you with astonishing speed a nightmare of wet roads brake lights his sharp intake of breath a stranger’s screams in your throat but the beep-beep-beep of your alarm is getting faster now and the man above you shouts she’s going tachy as sleep fills the corners of your vision and drags you back into the dark