The cold realities have started seeping in and scare me more than the nightmares ever did. I see her now, looking sometimes at the mask hung in the closet and wondering if she didn’t like me better that way. ‘Do you have to be sad?’ Syllables soft and sharp. ‘Can’t you just… can’t you be happy?’ I tell her it’s not about joy or despair but honesty measured empirically, I won’t hide anymore. We go to sleep with the monster under the bed half discussed and wake in fragmentation. I tell her I’m trying and she nods, ‘I know.’
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?
We lay in bed holding hands like main stream otters and drift into sleep. We meet then in dreams where the visage can be hazy but the intents are clear and carry an undercurrent of the day’s rumination. At times our faces are other, garish masquerade or marvellous gall, but only for the objective of the interim. This then is important for the process of understanding purpose, of distilling the chameleonic collation that coalesces in headspace. Who are our minds at rest. In the morning we wake, in arms or at odds but always together, and pool our experiences.
The horrors follow me to bed, their call becomes inescapable and loops inside me like an empty chant. Wind in the darkness. I press myself against the crags of my partner’s sedation and look for comfort, digging at her rocky stillness. Mountain dwellers carve their homes out of the inhospitable. They find their peace in equalling adversity. You can’t be mad at nature. It is inscrutable. I apply myself again to the cold rigidity and say this into her hair. You are inscrutable. I love her for having no blame in this and fall asleep thinking of the knife.
I like to watch her while she sleeps even though I know it’s creepy. I’m not being a creep about it though, I’m quietly in love. Sometimes I get this weird feeling like I want to taste her soul. I want to place each part of her in my mouth and savour its complexity. If I could subsume her I would, even knowing how sad it would make me, not being able to look at her any more. She would always be a part of me though and I think it would be enough to know we are together.