Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Why my arms are empty but my mind is full

He sleeps too solidly, head ground into the pillow. In the glow of the streetlight his face is white, young and unrecognizable. We are polite and overly generous, a wide line drawn down the middle. An arm extended tentatively and then withdrawn. Sleep takes over and we are alone in it, dreaming of falling down on empty sidewalks. A solitary sleeper, I am a rock, I am an eye-land. I used to be like that, before, seperate in sleep, my body a stiff question mark. But that was before, long before, so long before that sometimes all I can remember is the after.

After the before we slept close, so tight together that no paper could fit between, no particle of light shine through. I woke and he woke. Roll over. Shhh. Roll over. Go to sleep. Wake, turn, shift, sleep, all night long, with never a space between. Airtight and happy, belly to back, nose to neck, every sigh a tickle, every flutter of lash a butterfly kiss. Our bodies a matched set, curved lines traced by a steady hand, two long parentheses. Comfort in this. In three years, how many hours did we spend like this? Twenty-five hundred, perhaps. Three thousand. Perhaps more. Never counting, our time not measured in hours and minutes, but in beats and breaths, in shared body heat, in risings and fallings and the slow and steady pressure of a hand on a back, on a leg, on an arm. Our sleep was as infinite as our future, as vast as the horizon unrolling before us, until we came to the end of the world, and leapt.

A year and a quarter later and I am still not a solitary sleeper. Tonight I am a shadowy figure in a strange bed, an unwilling apostrophe longing to be made a quotation mark.


  1. thats beautifully written, rachel. can i repost it (attribution of course).

  2. Thanks. Yeah, I think that would be ok, Grumpy.

  3. But why, oh why has there been no word on the actual splitting of the atoms? What happened? It sounds like a really solid relationship from the outside.

  4. It's a puzzle, Mike. You have to put it together.

  5. Indeed so. Well, share whatever pieces when you're ready.

    Hope the NYC summer is going well. More school soon?

  6. This reminds me so much of when I was broke up with the love of my life as I am sure a lot of other men will agree when they needed to know how to get your girlfriend back.