Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The litany worked, slowly anyway. Initially, it took four or five "jerks" to drive the laughter away, eventually only one or two. Each salvo kept it away a bit longer until it was just a soft plea from a distant hurt. She slept. She knew better, when she woke, to hope it had been a significant respite; a quick but lazy turn to the clock upheld the verdict - just barely two hours, typical. She would wrestle now, fighting to regain sleep, drifting in and out with the song, and tossing about the bed as if there was some new place, some hidden portal to a good night's sleep long lost to her. There was a byproduct of that short nap though, the remnant of a dream that would stay for the next few hours. She was sitting at a train station, emerging into her own sight as the train pulled away. She was much smaller, but not younger. Just sitting there, diminutive in stature and in her silence.
The image startled her, as did every image every night the last eight hundred nights. It was never the same dream, never the same straggler that followed her through the next series of trials. They were never gruesome or grotesque, just unexpected. She never had them long enough to analyze, their only function was to to emulsify the four or five hours ahead of her, to string together the tussle necessary to deem it an episode. Time for the latest installment, with no prayer for an epilogue anytime soon.
Sitting on the ramp of the train station with her legs dangling over carelessly, staring at nothing in particular.  This was where she woke, watching a train move slowly on past. The girl was lonely and haunting, and she couldn't stand looking into the vacant eyes so she thrust herself over and willed herself back to sleep.
It wouldn't be a half an hour or so until she stirred, right back at the train station, her body light and hollow, except for a terrible draft racing through her, a draft of dread. It was an unnamed thing, something that gutted her and left her almost in a panic - a thing that would only be driven away by returning to sleep, or getting up and joining the day.  Given that she rarely got enough sleep anyway, waking up and getting out of bed in the middle of the night really wasn't an option.  She would continue the pitiful cycle, sleeping, stirring, fretting, and praying for the night to slide past as painlessly as possible. She knew too, that her life was slipping by, and if she survived this period, she would have given him a terribly extravagant gift, she would had given him almost all of her pain.
She knew the rules, she would cycle like this for several more hours before waking and facing that last trimester of the ordeal where the devil was in charge of all the details. For now, she could count on the refractory grace of her turmoil, much like the Karsakoff victim who had no short-term memory - pain and anguish would subside for a bit, before being reconstituted by a new encounter, a new awakening.  Most nights she preferred a movie as her companion through the arduous loop, measuring the efficacy of her relief by where she was in the movie each time she woke. The song offered no such luxury with its terse and callous orbit.
She woke four or five times that night, each to a departing train and a despondent witness, perhaps symbolizing her indifferent martyrdom to an insignificant love. She didn't want the little girl to go away necessarily, she only tried to will the train back to obfuscate the petite but living indictment of her pathetic existence, for a few hours anyway. As tormentors went, this evening's phantom was manageable, but residually unsettling - it would be a bad and lonely day when she eventually rose from her bed.  Stage two almost complete, she looked with measured insolence at the alarm clock knowing the last bit of the night had arrived, the bit she feared the most.  Although awake, it would be like the dream you would become aware of midway, having the assurance you would survive it, but the knowledge that you had yet to endure it.  Endurance, the newest notion that she had now lost all romantic connotation for.....

1 comment:

  1. was worth the wait my favorite writer...:)g