My Nightmare - JED

The most possessing stories often leak in after consciousness has left us. The pitch this

      week was to find one of the darkest of those images and put it to paper.

I am awake.


            The bed is empty and I feel it in my stomach. Like I’m falling. Like the feeling you get on a cross country flight when the air slips out from underneath the plane and suddenly you’re dropping, and part of you knows, it just knows, you’re going to die. And you try to think of the words that you want to write, of the last things you want to think, just in case it’s really real this time.

            She’s not beside me; there’s no impression from her body left in the shape of the sheets. The pillow is cold. Is it still her pillow if she doesn’t sleep here anymore? I can’t even smell her.

            But I remember her. I remember the years of her. Her in the morning, sleepy and beautiful with her hair around her face and her eyes closed, lips slightly parted. Her on the couch, bundled in old sweat pants, worn and comfortable and soft like her skin. Her coming home, walking through the door, all colors, bright red lipstick, deep green eyes, skin glowing from the cold. Her against a backdrop of all the people, all the friends and family, all the dinners, and movies, and car trips, and moments. All the sacred moments. With her.

            And I remember that she’s gone. The memory plummets into place with an empty, resonating, thunk. It fits perfectly, and the epiphany of the explanation drops my heart to its knees. Her face and voice, cold with contempt. Words that are the tombstone for love, dropping like small glittering knives from her lips. There is nothing in her that wants anything of me, anymore. She’s woken up from the dream of us, and she’s seeing it now in the clear light of the sun, and it isn’t pretty anymore. It’s sad, and weak, and she is moving, leaving, going, going….

            She has found another face, another place, another person, another way to see herself, and I am beside the point. I am less than superfluous. I am a squealing, writhing, relic of a past that should smell the coffee and realize it’s already dead. And if it’s not dead yet, it will be soon. And if it doesn’t die, who cares anyway? When she left she was still beautiful. The light framed her as she walked away.

            So I’m sitting here in the cold white sheets, shivering as the day comes rushing in on me. The weight of all the aborted dreams is heavy and getting heavier, a ton every second. There will be no more dinners together; no more time in the kitchen talking and cooking and tasting, laughing and touching. No more listening to her voice, the slight lilt and drawl of her tone, the strength underneath, metal wrapped in silk. No more knowing that the rest of the world can wither up and blow away, I am safe here with her. No more family gatherings with strange cousins, uncles and aunts. No more late night movies with cold popcorn and junior mints and a promise of more. No more watching her smile. No more holding, no more being held. No more dreams together. No more love. No more no more no more no no no no no.


            I am sitting up, gasping, groping for her touch, for her. She is there. She is there.


I am awake.