this place was her holy grail, her mecca, her safe place. since 4 in the morning, she had been clinging to her toilet like a wailing babe would cling to its mom for dear life during their first swim together. she didn’t want to let go, holding onto something, anything helped center herself as the senseless thoughts kept overloading her brain. the pulsing headache had been too much to bear for wanda, and not even the strongest ibuprofen could remedy that.

in the distance, she could hear clicking in the hallway and after a few moments had passed, a swift flick turned the bright lights on in what was previously a dark bathroom. wanda was too tired to groan, too annoyed to share brash words. nevertheless, her face contorted into a look of displeasure, her eyes squinting in near blindness until finally they adjusted and she saw her mother before her. while wanda grimaced on the floor, her mother leaned on the doorframe and took a long sip from her mug.

“you’re supposed to take me to the train station this morning and you look a mess.”

no shit.

wynne was literally gifted with the innate ability to ignore all family drama, especially drama of her own making.

“you didn’t go out last night, did you, marina?”

would you blame me after all of the lying? my name isn’t even marina.

there it was again. the continual fog of confusion of names, places and people. she had gone through her belongings that mattered. she had seen her massachusetts driver’s license and the embarrassingly poor picture the dmv took of her. her license said marina wynne kaiser and listed her at five foot five inches tall, a resident of boston and listed organ donor. if she didn’t want to believe her id, there was a harvard card that reiterated similar information. googling herself was even more interesting. according to forbes, she also happened to be the daughter of a billionaire named marcus kaiser. his face was all too familiar, but his name wasn’t right at all—like some type of a fantastical, made up pseudonym.

“that’s not my name,” she said quietly.

wanda didn’t need to look up, she knew her mother was fed up and had probably rolled her eyes in response. there was enough history there between them to know divulging anything else could mean more counseling, renewed trips to the psychiatrist. wanda couldn’t trust her current confusion to the woman who raised her, and so she did her best to find resolve. wiping her mouth and pulling her hair back, wanda finally used her strength to get to her feet and then promptly waved her mother off. she was never good at comforting and so wanda would release her mother from her feigning tepid concern.

“we’ve got to get going in an hour. i’m going for a little walk, hopefully you’ll be ready when i get back, mars.”

wanda squinted her eyes again at the nickname that so easily rolled off her mothers lips.

“what kind of nickname is that...” she grumbled.

wanda definitely needed some coffe, and wynne never remembered how she liked it prepared. a pot was already brewed and ready, and she destroyed a perfectly good cup of joe with copious amounts of almond milk. her hands sprinkled sugar, more than she needed, and with a flick of a wrist, the mug exploded, shards of ceramic flying everywhere.

“no, not again!”

her hands remained still, fearful that any movement could mean the end of her kitchen, or even worse, the apartment building in which she lived. completely drenched with lukewarm coffee all over her robe, wanda noticed a small scarlet-colored orb pulsating in the middle of her palm. before she could even try to manipulate the familiar energy, it dissipated into thin air. this was the second time in less than twenty-four hours that wanda had experienced this phenomena. perhaps, her magic was coming back, albeit fragmented, and that didn’t bode well for anyone if she couldn’t learn to control it.