Something I Wrote After You Fell Asleep


There you are. Five feet away from me. I slid away from you to check the news, the latest scandal, the most trivial part of the lives deemed more important than you and I. We had been watching Mad Men, a show I so desperately loved while smoking a hookah with my college roommates, an eccentric engineer and a Saudi Arabian transplant. I often forget that you don’t need these fictions, that sometimes what I have viewed so long as escapism is actually the anvil of reality, the pestilence of debauchery and the guilt of being human I never really experienced but of which you have experienced so much, too much. You fell asleep with my shoulder as your pillow. I slid away and now you lie next to your beagle.

I’d like to say I stood up and lit another Camel to write this, but my intentions were selfish, were aimed at recreating the false reality of what so many deem important. But it simply isn’t true. I fed an addiction to gossip and nonsense while you slept after working two jobs: the first planning meetings for a state chiropractic association and the second far closer to your true self, helping a six-year-old learn intermittently the theme from Scooby-Doo and “Clair de Lune” on violin. Your beauty and talent is so tragically unimagined, and yet I snuck my arm out from under you while you rested from a busier day than I’ve ever imagined, the same sort of day you’ll have tomorrow. I’ll visit you midday for lunch and listen as you both bemoan the smallness of the salivating mobs around you and the effect it has on one to be forced to consider them important. I want to free you of them. I want to carry you above the waters of capitalism and responsibility and show you that life is not entirely struggle, that there is real joy to be had here. The best support I can give you now is to forget my self-important musings about the existentialism of Don Draper and let you rest so wonderfully, your hair framing your cheeks, your glasses clumsily left resting on your sideways nose.

About an hour ago I grabbed you in the dining room and ensnared you in a slow dance while I croaked out “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” When I first came here months ago to your house with my cheesy and oh-so-hipster ukulele and we sang that song all night, practicing rhythms for an Open-Mic-Night that never came, it was a lullaby for my fears, for the insistent crying child within my head which told me no joy was to come of any pursuit just as no joy ever had. We sat here, on this hardwood floor you shaved, finished, and polished with the same hands that now lie folded in your lap, and traded the pleasure we gave one another without the slightest moment of touch or intimacy. We made the love only two minds can make, skipping the foreplay and extending the sheer and unique happiness that comes with realizing this person is who I want. Time was the sun itself, moving across the sky before we even noticed it existed. I’m longing to linger till dawn, dear.

Tomorrow is not just another day but merely another day, another crucifix on the calendar for us to either remember or forget, blame or give credit for, hide behind or wear as a badge. Just as today was, really. Just as I layered your neck and lips with affection will tomorrow be filled with the idiosyncratic tasks of waking up way too damn early, seeing your son off to school, making sausage and egg whites, and kissing you goodbye while I stand on your porch and you stand on the first step off of it. You’ll venture out into a world neither of us commits to the importance of yet we both know it must be, the same way we’ve seen the treatment of butchered animals yet love a good BLT. And with each step toward your Taurus I’ll grow even fonder of you, watching your hips slide from side to side and your lips turn upwards as you wave me so long, your wrist so simply limp and your fate so strongly uncertain. We can only guide our lives like the winds can a sail, with no understanding of the desired direction or the ultimate goal. So don’t let the bastards get to you.

But that’s all for tomorrow. When we wake up before the sun does and watch The Daily Show online because we can’t afford cable. When I tell you to let your car warm up and you willfully ignore me. When, just like last year, I’m shocked to see the puddles nuzzled between the uprising roots of a tree become small blocks of ice, unsettling in their still whiteness. Then you’ll apologize for falling asleep, for supposedly neglecting my selfish need to be fulfilled by mass media and political scandals. I’ll assure you the apology is not necessary because it is not. And you’ll leave for work just like that: Each of us believing we are the largest piece of trash to be graced with such a wonderful and worthwhile mind as the other.

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