Monday, September 6, 2010

#14: welcome back, darlin'.

You're in bed by eleven and at around midnight she's churchmouse quiet, slipping beneath half-occupied covers, like a pickpocket in reverse. You're dreaming when she climbs into bed, but even her graceful entrance jars you awake.

"Sorry, babe," she says, placing a soft palm on your chilled cheek, "go back to sleep. I'm coming in there with you."

"Ugghgrrgh?" you ask.

"What?"

"Ugghgrrgh." And then you're back to sleep.

But it's more of a coma than actual sleep. Your body has shut down and your eyes have closed up but you are still hearing her singing that song, the one about California, and her upper alto drips honey into your ears, sweetening the background noise of the humidifier you set up the night before in a mostly futile attempt to trick your brain into thinking that there was something going on at home when you were just waiting for her to come back.

But now she's back.

She's wearing one of your t-shirts, and she crosses one bare leg over you like wrapping paper. Her head slides inbetween your shoulder and neck and when she breathes out, it's like that humidifier has taken human form and decided to come home to you.

"I know you're asleep," she whispers to your collarbone, "but I missed you." She leaves a peck like a claymore against your skin and even being facedown in your pillow isn't enough to keep you from cracking a smile, causing the pillowcase to crinkle just audibly enough for a nuzzled face to note the rustle.

"Are you awake?" she asks.

You managed to extend a muffled "Mrrrhrrr" in response and she tosses an open palm against your back.

"Are you pretending to be asleep still so we can just snuggle?"

"Mrrrhrrr."

"Does 'mrrrhrrr' mean 'yes'?"

"Mrrrhrrr."

"Are you going to answer 'mrrrhrrr' to every question I ask?"

"Mrrrhrrr."

"Can we go out tomorrow night?"

"Mrrrhrrr."

"Okay. And can we sleep in tomorrow morning? Or do you have work?"

"Mrrrhrrr."

"Mrrrhrrr to having work or to sleeping in?"

"Mrrrhrrr."

"Wait. So, uh, to having work?"

Silence.

"To sleeping in, then?"

"Mrrrhrrr."

"You're funny." She kisses the top of your head and leaves a hand against its back, her thumb brushing you like a mane. "Babe?"

"Mrrrhrrr?"

"I like that my first thought wasn't to go to my apartment, it was to come here."

"Mrrrtrrr."

"Is that like 'me too'?"

You nod, but it barely seems to register. But she gets it.

"I'm glad," she says. "Now let's go to sleep. Idaho was too cold without you there."

"...rrrrlrrryrrrr."

She doesn't quite pick up on what you were trying to say that time, but you'd rather the first time you say it not be into a pillow. And now that she's back, you don't see too much reason to sleep.

Your eyes stay closed as you try and decipher what's a dream, what's real, and if, at this very second, the difference is all that important.

2 comments:

Meg said...

magic

Anonymous said...

Sublimely captures the reader. Your writing is wonderful. I have been reading stuff on the internet since 1995, your writing is the best "unpublished fiction" I have ever read. This is one of the handful of times that I have posted a comment.