Ruth could open her eyes at almost anytime of day or night and not remember where she was. The consistent thing was her bed. It was a familiar rumpled den that smelled like her. But beyond that, the world was an ocean she was unmoored in. The easy forgetfulness(more) was like a force of nature or a superpower. The lapse in understanding whenever she opened her eyes was a lost, crawling feeling - like the sand scuttling beneath a tide that is going out - grains of sand trying to cling to their position despite the pull of something larger and hungrier.
In Ruth's case, so much of her life occurred in dreams. So many of her memories took place in dream countries barely articulated, nevermind explored. Sleep had a larger pull than wakefulness. In the walking-around world ambulances crawled the streets and people roamed and muttered furiously. Their rage spilled out of the margins. People drew guns for no reason; people walked off cliffs to relieve themselves of misery. Walmart tills jangled as people filled emptiness with DIY projects and discount groceries. Everybody everywhere waited for a friend to call, for someone to notice, for a kiss to feel like it meant something. Whenever Ruth woke up she knew she was too late for something - that she had been born too late - that life was not a matter of accomplishment or hope, but only forever catching up. (less)