Demussatus
By Eilidh17

I reached a milestone today, a personal milestone that I carefully hid inside my very public humiliation.  I felt no compunction to share the moment with my teammates. They needed their space, mostly from me.  It has been two weeks now since I managed to quite effectively shame myself in front of my team and anyone in the SGC that that got caught up in the debacle that was my sarcophagus withdrawal.  The fleeting sideways glares have all but died down to the occasional cautious stare, and whispered behind-the-hand “did you hear what happened to him?” comments have graduated to “nice to see you looking so well, Doctor Jackson”, but privately, I still find my choice of actions fathomless.  

I can’t deny that the need to lie down in the next sarcophagus I see hasn’t totally faded; it still prickles at the edge of my desires.  Doctor McKenzie, the SGC shrink, has most clinically informed me that just because my withdrawal symptoms have eased, the compulsions borne of my exposure to the wretched device could possibly linger on for years.  The man is nothing if not a chipper source of psychological joy to his patients. 

I wonder where my closest chapter of Sarcs Anonymous is? 

Hi, my name is Daniel Jackson, and I have a sarcophagus addiction.  

My journal lays open before me on a fresh page, my pen poised to record this milestone in my recovery that no one will ever read except me, but then, that is the point of this exercise.  I have tried at various times since I was released from the infirmary to put pen to paper, add substance to my thoughts.  According to Doctor McKenzie, keeping a diary of my healing process will prove therapeutic in the long run, a dark moment in my history that will only serve to make me stronger in the future.  I have to wonder if the good doctor was drawing from personal experience or the various case studies he read up on while studying for his psychology degree.  Considering the prevalence of sarcophagi on Earth, I’m going for the latter.

Examining the hand holding my pen, I look for even the barest of tremors, the last sign of my weakness that has held me in a dark place where I wondered if I would ever truly get back to the way I was.  Writing is as natural for me as digging in the dirt for just the barest hint of a long lost civilization.  Out on a dig where electricity is a luxury, you very quickly get into the tactile habit of recording everything in a journal.  Either that or you hope your ability to keep good mental notes is extraordinary, but no one is that good.

Every day now, I have sat in this exact spot in front of my journal with my pen in hand, and every day my body has defied my instructions.  My hand wavering just hard enough that if I don’t let go of the pen, I risk dropping it and marking the perfect white page.  This morning though, when I woke up, something felt different.  The tightness in my chest that comes from being in a constant state of nervousness, seemed to have eased, and the coffee cup that I’d been forced to hold with both hands had only needed one. 

This was it!  Before the memories faded and the words I’d used to describe them were lost to my inability to hold a pen, I needed to get them down. 

On one of my recent attempts, Jack had caught my frustration as I lobbed the pen across my lab, barely missing his shrouded figure in my doorway.

“What was that for?” he groused, picking up the abandoned pen and holding it up in the air like an accusation.  “What’d it ever do to you?”

I chose to ignore his comments and subtle attempt at lightening my mood, but Jack is good at reading between the lines and instantly suggested I try using a Dictaphone to record my thoughts. 

“Just until you…” he twiddled the pen between two fingers and pointed with his other hand towards the open journal. “… It’ll come, Daniel, don’t fight it.” 

How did he know?  I took great pains to keep this last lingering proof of my fragility a secret from everyone.  Naturally, he had an answer for that as well, despite me not having asked the question.

Handing me the pen, he turned on his heel and headed out the door.  “Trust me,” he said with a wry smile, looking at me over his shoulder just before he disappeared out of sight, “I’ve been there. You will get through this.”

Okay, so I didn’t quite take Jack’s advice.  You see, I liked to think I was one of those people who could get away without writing their thoughts or notes down and actually still remember it weeks later.  Now, my pen lay nestled snugly between my thumb and pointer finger, its nib just daring to be pressed into the pristine page, and steeling my resolve, I decided it was time….

18th March

Today, amid the frustration and fear that has clouded my life for the past several weeks, I feel as though I have finally overcome the last barrier in my physical recovery.  Words are the core of my life, and without the ability to write down my experiences, my thoughts, my moments in time, I feel as empty and lost as a language that no one has ever managed to decipher.  This pen that I hold in my hand, to me, symbolizes a crossing of some threshold that I feel was holding me back, taunting me, as though my mind wanted to punish me in the one way that would hurt me the most… my ability to write down my words.

The End 

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