Friday, November 20, 2015

Dream Girl

by J. O'Shields II

I woke up alone.  That is all I was certain of at five-forty-three on the day the sun slept late.  I lay in my twin bed noticing how overlarge it is.  When the bed was purchased I had no less girth than I do today but never before had I noticed such excess stretching out on both sides.  To test this theory I summoned movement I was not entirely suited for and slid to one side.  Again I looked at where I lay, my position and how much area I covered.  It was an unwise thing to do; to see how she could fit so comfortably at my side even in this bed designed for children and those who never find a heart like their own.  She, who held my hand as we conquered the world before us only moments before in my sleep, would have found ample comfort and warmth under the piles of down and fine fabric in which I've dressed this skiff of forgotten hope.

It was then I noticed my throat was raw.  I must have slept with my mouth wide and gathered too much cool air from the dark, still room.  I waved the covers away and sat on the side of the small bed shuffling my feet into the shoes waiting there.  They were always in their place.  It’s where I left them and where I expect them to be and I would profess a spirit if they were elsewhere.  Furthermore, if they moved without my doing I would hear them.  The scuffing 'shhh shhh shhh' sound they make.  To reassure me their sound was still in their possession they spoke while I dragged them across the wood floor into the bathroom and began the ritual which begins every day without variation.  I took my toothbrush from the coffee cup on the sink and coated it with paste.  The others, the brushes I keep alongside my own, glare angrily at me; two from inside their wrappers still, one kidnapped from the past in case she should come back someday and need it after waking in my arms.  She might say to me, "My breath. It’s horrible, Johnny.  I'll brush fast."  And she'd dash out of bed smiling and gripping her arms and she would be brushing when I met her with her robe at this same sink and made my mouth suitable for her longest, warmest kiss.

I spit.  I rinse.  The brush is placed back in the coffee cup where I will find it tomorrow when I relive this ritual, this curse, this daydream.

The loyal shoes whisper to the house again as I step back to the hall and move ghostlike back to the bedroom.  I sit myself on the side of the bed and slide my feet from them and back under the thick piles of bedding.  My head is set again against the pillow and my eyes are already closed.  I'll try to sleep a few minutes more.  It's too early for the sun and she always wakes with the sun.  Perhaps wherever she is she hasn't had time to rise and bathe and dress.  But soon she will and then she'll want to see me because we were in love.  So I'll sleep so we are awake together and so that we find ourselves in need of rest together.  By that we'll spend our day in step with one another and our night in an embrace as one; on my narrow bed, under fine bedding.  And when she is in my arms I won't dream of my hand being held by a woman I never knew, who never shared my sink or was chilled by my morning.  But those are merely details.  And they'll be forgotten once I close my eyes and see her again.

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