I wake in the darkness, the alarm breaking into my consciousness after forty minutes of sound. "Call in, we want to hear your most embarrassing 'I can't believe I just said that' story..." Hazy feet carry me to the bathroom, and I try to avoid dropping my clothes in the dust on the floor. The stream of water hits me, and as I adjust the temperature, I close my eyes. I rarely remember dreams from the night before. My dreams come to me awake.
She stands, dripping in the bathroom, the old fan struggling to clear the mist from the room. The mirror is covered with steam, so that all I can see is the vaguest outline of her form. From the edge of the bath, I sit, and watch her go through the motions, as she prepares to go out into the day. Every step, followed carefully, this procedure that she goes through without thought. A towel wrapped around her damp hair, makeup, and moisturiser, and heaven knows what applied in an order that I'll never understand, or remember. Every now and then, she looks at me sitting there, watching her. She doesn't understand why I'd choose to sit, and watch something so mundane, something she does every day.
She doesn't understand why she sometimes catches me in a smile.
Have you ever caught someone, just staring, at nothing? If you look at me for long enough, you'll see that. Have you ever wondered what's going on in that mind, what thoughts could possibly produce an expression so blank, so vacant? I sit, the screen flickering with a show I'm only ever half watching. My gaze passes across the empty seat, next to mine.
I look at her, sitting alone on the couch, legs crossed as she watches the television. Totally absorbed, by her favourite show. I move next to her, placing a pillow in her lap. Rest my head on it, my face towards her belly, arms wrapped around her waist, gently, but I want to hold on so tightly. Raise my knees towards my chest, until they're touching her hips, so it's as though I am completely wrapped around her. With no room anywhere else, my body becomes a place to rest her arms, my skin something to be touched.
She seems surprised that I have goosebumps.
I used to have grand dreams. Dreams of fame, fortune, never-ending happiness and freedom. My dreams have changed, evolved, simplified. Like any gradual change, it's hard to point out a moment in time, hard to say 'things became different on this day'. Perhaps it started at round the same time I noticed the excitement I feel when lightning breaks from dark clouds, promising a storm.
When the rain started to fall, torrents falling, I had to walk outside, had to feel the water pouring down my body, pressing the hair flat against my head. I didn't hear you follow me out, didn't know you were there until your arms snuck up inside of mine, crossing across my chest. We stood there for what seemed like hours, even though the storm passed quickly. And when all that was left was the slow dripping of water from the trees, and the singing of frogs, hidden from our view, we still stood. Not a single word ever passed our lips.
Nothing needed to be said...we just knew.
I dream in simple words, uncomplicated phrases, flashing images that make up a scene.
I could hear the squeaking of the sand between your toes, that cool autumn night. It blended into the noise of waves breaking on the shore, and the steelworks across the bay. The night was singing. The city lights glittered on the harbour, and you asked for a description for the vision in front of our eyes. I sat for a long while in silence, as I tried to find the right words to capture this moment in time. I'm not one given to moments of clarity, but after thinking for what felt like hours, as you waited patiently, I knew there was only one thing to say. So I told you, hoping that I was making the same sense to you, that I was in my mind. All I saw was everything that was before our eyes, everything that was now. I refused to allow anything else to touch us, because I wished for nothing more.
You didn't ever reply. But I think you understood.
I dream, that the visions in my mind, may some day break free. These pictures may take form, and become memories.
Until then, I'll close my eyes...