Bill awoke from a dream into the morning. In his dream Bill was craning his neck to look up -- something was happening there -- and when he was awake, he was craning his neck to look at the alarm clock, which was going off. For a moment Bill contemplated the boundary between asleep and awake and this thought (or train of thoughts) was killed by the fast-growing thought to turn off the fucking alarm clock.
The boundary between being asleep and being awake is much more obvious than the boundaries between other adjacent situations in our lives.
The meniscus descended, frighteningly like a freight elevator, from Bill's knees down to just below his calves. He stood in a pool of brown liquid, in a little valley between man-sized (and the thought flickers) mountains (to be replaced by) stalagmites. In front of him and slightly to the left stood a woman-thing; she was large coils of muscle covered over by skin. Her mouth was a mandibular structure of muscles, and she had a similar but larger structure between her legs and stretching up to her waist. She had long dark (hair?). To the right and a little distance away indistinct hulking figures moved.
The woman-thing spoke. "What makes a woman to you?"
Bill was unsure. "The curves and hair, I suppose."
This Bill couldn't answer, but something was happening above. Bill looked up and woke.
Getting out of bed was a feat. One more boundary - there was the warm interior of his comforter, and there was the cold exterior of the rest of his room. What allowed Bill to make it was the small, hard center of determination inside his self (his-self, hisself) that said over and over again - "I must get up." That was its job, to say that over and over again, and that was all it did. The phrase became like a song, and the small center of determination was then like a song stone. Because it was a small, hard center of determination it was like a small stone or egg, and then you might think that it had a well-defined boundary. But it was one of those things that when Bill turned inside hisself to look at it it dispersed like fog. Like when you try to look directly like a comet and it fades away, but this was a fading away that Bill could almost feel physically inside hisself.
Because of this small, hard center of determination Bill brought his arms out of fetal position, out of the covers, and lay them on the top of his covers in order to acquaint himself with the cold, curvy topology of the rest of his bed. It was an alien landscape.
Vanessa, now that I have lost you, in reverse, and I think (again?) of you sitting nude on the bed, smiling, one knee up, I lose everything. I am brought to the brink and the cliff disappears. Who leads me there? Who takes away the pencil for which I reach, the chair on which I sit? How can my hand pass through air occupied by a machine a moment before!
While he was dressing Bill remembered a morning several years from now, into the future. He and his wife will have been married one month. He stood at the closest corner with arm crossing to get shirt and looked at his single bed. And saw the double bed there with his wife lying on it and saw projected on the far wall that future morning window easing comfortably among other furniture friends and picturing the rising sun, rising like a god halfway up the morning sky. She saw it too, rising like a god. She glanced between him and it, and he glanced between her and it. And it rose, slowly, like a god. The sun's head-dress plumed out and down. The sun's penis was bent down, only slightly erect and rising easy, moving with him and not because of him. The sun's face wore sleepy half-closed eyes glazed over and lips poised between a kiss and a smile.
And now I am inclined to ask where this scene of the rising sun rested among/between them when they sat in the kitchen to organize, breakfast.
She sat at the table and he stood again. Their faces did not carry the orange blossom colors given by the horizontal rays in the bedroom, but the light in the kitchen was still fresh morning-light. Their eyes were dark and lowering. They had, after all, just gotten up. The dark monster, annoyance and possible dislike, grumbled and turned over where it slept, deep below the space between them. They were in love.
Bill sat looking out the window and sipping coffee until the truck arrived. He stood up and regarded the window before leaving. A fluorescing panel, strobing so slowly, twenty-four hours per cycle. Sped up, the cycle can be grasped. As it is, I am too much a part of it to see. More the environment than the event. More stage than play. The venetian blinds hung bundled at the top. Plastic. Tightened.
Bill climbed into the cab of the pick-up and pulled the door shut. The body of the truck was a dusty red. The morning was dusty, too. Later on the day would be clear; the truck would still be dusty.
They both wore flannel. Bill's hair was long, his face was clean. A few pimples. Tom's hair was shorter and a little gray. He wore stubble.
"Hey, Tom. How's it goin."
"Mmmnot too bad. And yourself?"
"I'm OK. I'm awake, anyway." He had thought about saying 'up', and had decided on 'awake'. Conversation was sometimes difficult in the morning. But when was it ever easy.
TOM: "This music all right?"
Tom cast his eyes toward Bill, a full second-long glance away from the road. The stubble was moving; the face was still. The eyes appeared oiled, just for an instant. He was turned slightly toward Bill, and his muscles were tensed. His lips drew together in a circle for a moment, and his attention returned to the road. He eased.
Bill was aware of his legs, how heavy and still they were. his hands nestled under his thighs and he stared at the center of the dashboard. The part where it sloped off the dials and became bland preparation for the glove compartment.
BILL: "Yeah, this is fine."
Mariah Carey came from the speakers. Tom put his elbow on the window sill, leaned his head to the left and ran that hand through his hair. He puffed his cheeks and blew out a steady breath. Bill propped his right elbow on the window and put that hand to his chin. His forefinger rested under his nose for a moment, then he moved his hand to rest his cheek on the knuckles. He smirked his mouth briefly then relaxed it.
TOM: "Yeah, this stuff, I dunno. Most of this stuff is just shit. I guess it's easy to listen to, easy listening, but... I dunno. I like Whitney Houston, though. What to you think of Whitney Houston?"
BILL: "Yeah, I like Whitney Houston. Sure."
TOM: "I mean... I dunno."
BILL: "No, I know what you mean. I enjoy listening to Whitney Houston. Sure."
They both returned slowly to staring out the window and grew to notice the dew-moist grass on the side of the road and the breeze blowing through the cab.