She falls asleep while I talk about my issues and I keep going because I can’t afford therapy. I wish I had more happiness to share, I say, but I can’t remember anything. She growls softly from beyond and I stroke her hair. Everything nice includes you now and the other things are someone else’s life, like episodes from an out of syndication show. I can’t hold on to the past anymore. I know it’s time to stop when she shifts and nuzzles into me, so I put out the light and try to meet her there in dreams.
I find myself again in that dreamless place, looking for sweet annihilation under the full moon. I place the weight of her head on my shoulder, imprecisely imagined and heavier with absence. My feet tread water under sheets and keep me just above the surface of sleep where the cold is all that fits between my fingers and my body longs for pins and needle numbness. I wrap myself in the last of her smell and tell campfire stories to the comforter. Tomorrow’s morning will break upon me like a hammer and she will spill out to challenge it.
When the nightmares wake me I turn to Arris and place my hand on her chest, falling into the space between breaths. Sleeping still, she lays her hand over mine and mewls softly at the dark, unconscious signals that need no dream reader to untangle. No light and no life show beyond the bounds of our room. We are all that there is. I move closer for my skin to know hers. Chest to toe my body warms with an inner glow. I turn to face sleep again, knowing whatever waits beyond, I will be safe when I return.
Every night’s another death, that’s why sometimes I’m so reticent to sleep, having left lessons unlearnt and a days work unaccomplished. It’s like trying to build a building using the surrealist writing game, every incarnation absorbed and only the folded remnants to work with. I wonder about each soul that takes to the task, such variegated people sitting in a single skin and purpose put to rest only to be picked at like a mid-seam stitch. I wonder every day if the me I’ll be will accomplish what I wanted when his time comes, who will that be?