My eyes popped open, startled awake by the sound of the taxi’s tire thudding in a pothole. I could feel my heart galloping within my chest, and I took a deep breath to calm myself. Of all the things that could go wrong in an automobile, a heart attack seemed the most ironic. I mean, you’re driving along, all safe and proper one minute, and then your body quits on you... and CRASH! Sayonara!
Cars aren’t really my thing.
I distracted myself by leaning forward, towards the driver, a middle-aged guy wearing a faded baseball cap and a grey t-shirt that definitely had seen better days.
“How much longer?” I asked loudly enough so my voice carried over the annoying twang of the country song he’d been humming along to. Talking out loud hurt my brain, and I pressed my palm onto my forehead to slow the vibration. For the life of me, I couldn’t recall the last word I’d spoken out loud, and now I remembered why. Everyone thought I kept silent because I wanted my space. And, yes, I wanted people to leave me alone--but, most of all, I wanted this God-awful pain to disappear. Keeping my mouth shut helped, or, at least, it drove others away so I didn’t have to perform like a circus animal.
“We should be to Mitte in ten minutes. You okay?” The driver asked, his concerned eyes peeking at me from the rearview mirror.
I nodded in response even though he’d turned his focus back to the road. Immediately, a stab of discomfort shot up my neck. He didn’t seem too concerned at my lack of response, and completely ignored me when I sucked in a breath at the painful movement. His lack of concern didn’t bother me, though. I’d reached my limit of how many times I could lie about feeling good, especially when those asking couldn’t fix me even if I told the truth.