He slept in motion,
back and forth with covers wrapped around
elbows and feet and bristled chin.

She always slept in a ball,
pulled up tight with toes underneath her.
If her lips did not quiver, you could not detect any movement

Habits being what they are,
morning light would often shine on her bare skin,
with his body nearby, wrapped in blankets
They were incompatible when unconscious, to be sure

They saved their communication for raw daylight
leaving nothing for interpretation

He comes home late, for once.

It's not that he picked someone up in a bar as the idea is laughable to him - realistically, he couldn't if he wanted to. Not dickish enough. Not quite.

No, he comes home late because he knows what it'll do to her. She worries, and in his passive aggressive way, he lets her, lets the what ifs run rampant through her head like a scavenging pack of voles looking for whatever they can find among the rubble and rabble. He undresses, not loudly but not quietly either, making sure that she knows he's home, finally, home where the drunken fog can recede to a dim memory of a sticky bartop and a flurry of sidelong glances. Brass railings and cheap beer mixed with a thoroughly miserable jukebox and the kind of company nobody wants to keep past a single night.

He strips, the alcohol seeping from his pores, hoping their sheets would absorb the brunt of it, making him seem more steadfast and less of a lush come morning.

He doesn't do this, not regularly. Partially because it's not within his character but mostly because of that particular way she'd look at him, her eyes filled to the brim with a certain kind of disappointment. The hurt kind. She keeps him sane, he knows, but that sanity requires a spot-check every once in awhile. This girl who didn't drink and didn't smoke, hell, who didn't have sex without it being metered and measured, could maybe, possibly understand a night of exuberance.

Hopefully, she'd be able to understand such a night without her.

He crawls into bed exhausted. He knows that he smells like a whiskey distillery and he can see what his advances would look like to the camera he imagines looking down on their bed. A crane shot, slowly pulling away through a ceiling now realized as imaginary. He touches her shoulder, gently he feels, and she squirms away, finding greater comfort in the cold, uninsulated exterior wall.

His arms feel like lead and his head quickly finds his pillow to be the softest, quietest thing it has ever rested on. He rolls over, his back to hers as the cats fight in the alley and her hair, spilling from her side of the bed, entrenches the aroma of strawberries in his dreams.

He wants to hold her but he knows what that, too, would look like. So he abstains, burying his head in his pillow as he waits for the sunrise he wishes would never come. It's not the dreams, he thinks before he passes out, it's the dreaming.

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