Tuesday, April 8, 2014

But You Weren't Really There

"Why are you here?"

I'd been sleeping and dreaming and pretending the world couldn't see me, but your voice eased through me like warm, spiced wine. I wondered for a few seconds where I might be. In the vertigo between dreams, I couldn't remember where I'd nodded off. I certainly couldn't recall how I came to be so warm, under the covers, in a bed, next you.

You've been so distant lately. I haven't seen you or heard from you. I'm not sure you ever think about me at all. But, there you were, whispering into my ear in the middle of the night, just like old times.

I was surrounded by the soft coverlet I'd bought for myself, and the paintings on the wall were the ones I painted myself. This was my bedroom, for sure. I rolled over and repositioned my head on the goose-feather pillow you used to steal from me every time you came over. There you were; your black, accusing eyes stared into my soul.

"Why are you here?" you asked again, but in a new, less curious, more demanding tone.

"This is my bed," I whispered. "You're in my bed." I should have been asking you, but it didn't occur to me at the time to wonder. It seemed so natural that you would be there. You'd been there before. It wasn't an odd situation, nor was it a frightening one.

"But why are you here?" you questioned again, and the truth is, I didn't have the answer you were looking for. I don't think I've ever had the answer you were looking for, because I've never really understood the question. I've never understood anything about you.

"This is my side of the bed," I whispered. It's an old game. I'd claim my side to be the top side. You could have the bottom. Then I'd push you over the edge, and we'd wrestle, and giggle, and then maybe we'd make love.

So I tried to push you off. Because you were on my side. Invading my space. You refused to budge. You wouldn't go over. Instead, you pulled me closer and wrapped both arms around my waist. Your face snuggled into the crook of my neck, and I could feel your hurried, frightened breath against my skin.

"Why are you here?"