From "Chapter 7 - Aside - Tiffany's"
Martha woke up with an expired, sweaty cling about the limbs. The skin of her thighs had fused feverishly into the bedsheet, and he head had a quivering post-fever burn about the temples. It felt divine, slack, smooth, the edge of her melting indistinctly into the bed. She lay slack, savouring the discomfort of her shivering legs, for a minute.
She opened her eyes, and the feeling dissolved. Everything was real around her, suddenly and immovably real. The warm cradling hand beneath her belly was the sagging center of her old mattress, her skin, was blotchy through sweat-stained sheets, and black hairs were crawling out of the pores on her legs in a shoddy troop. Before she even knew it had been there, the warm dream that still rested against her lips started to dissolve down her chin. Quickly she tried to grab at the shreds of it, but the beautiful parts were too strong for her roasted brain to codify on such short notice. Something blue and violet, and very deep and warm, and dark and alone, and feeling like she was in a huge bassinet, that somehow was less ridiculous than she could imagine without the aid of unconsciousness. She felt a little pang of embarrassment at the abstraction, and tried weakly to push herself up to sitting. The last feeling of pleasant night-ness left her as a scorched headache rose into her brain. She mewled out a curled groan, winking her right eye convulsively.
"Nat? Nat are you there?"
A quiet line of footsteps approached down the hall. The door opened quietly, and Nat's head poked through "Mom? Are you awake?"
Martha moaned "Sweetie, can you get me some ibuprofen? Oh god, my head..."
The door snapped shut, the noise smashing back and forth against the walls of Martha's skull. She sunk back down to supine. A moment later Nat came back in with a glass of water, with a straw. He tiptoed across the room to Martha's bed, and said very quietly "Do you want a straw?"
She didn't answer, only reaching weakly out for the medicine, Nat dropped three dusty pills into her hand. She put them in her mouth, and wrapped her lips feebly around the straw - about half of the water ran down her face, but it was enough to swallow the pills, "Oh... I feel like hell."
Nat grinned, "Does this mean I can swear now, mom?"
She frowned and tried to suppress a laugh - it came anyway, but jarred her brain less than she expected.