An Object Among Dreams

~ Title taken from the poem, A Girl in a Library, by Randall Jarrell.

It's dark, the hour late, and his bed seems hard, lumpy, and cold. Isn't that always the way of it, though? For how many years, now, has his rest been a pittance, a parody of the thing that poets and great literary figures call slumber of the just, the innocent, the pure. Sleeping like a baby - as though infants could not themselves know when the house they lie in trembles with silent fear.

Wesley knows he's distracting himself. He knows he ought not - he ought close his eyes and think of something far removed from LA, or England, or things that go bump in all hours of the day. He could dream of sandy beaches and a hut on a hillside, books of fiction scattered about his single room, an ancient typewriter waiting on the desk. The life of leisure he would never have, but could imagine was waiting for him. Someday.

Someday, in the lines of the fantasies he imagined himself writing.

The air would be hot, and moist, and he would go about barefoot and shirtless, a strap beneath his chin to keep his hat on and a loose belt at his waist to hold up his trousers the only concessions to propriety. He would spend as much of his days digging in the sand, watching the ocean waves, or wandering through the tropical jungle listening to birds and the sounds of the natives' daily lives filtering through the trees as he would earning his intermittent pay.

It distracts him from the cold, empty bed he lies in. It cannot distract him from the cold, empty life he has always found himself living. The daydream dissolves and he finds himself staring at the ceiling, wondering what would happen if he crawled out of bed and left. Went over to where he's sure he's not welcome, and knocked on the door anyhow.

Would the argument he would get be worth disturbing this facade of rest? Would the harsh words and lack of understanding be enough to dispel the reality that it solves nothing, changes little except to make it worse, make it harder to come back from where they are now? Or would there be a slight chance that the first words out of his mouth would be 'I'm sorry' and things would somehow magically right themselves?

Wesley rolls over in his bed, the mattress so narrow that this brings him up against the edge. One hand hangs over, and he can feel the air colder, nearer the floor. He wants to weep, bury his head in his pillow and let the pain out. But that too will solve nothing. It never has. But it reminds him of nights when his bed was warm, and the lack of room forced him to cuddle closer, wrapping his arms more tightly around someone who was smiling at him even as they fell gently to sleep.

Those nights were infrequent, and so few when scattered throughout his lifetime. The nights spent sleeping soundly could be counted on his hands, and he suddenly wishes, fervently and with a violence that does not startle him at all, that he could simply go over there and say 'I wish to stay' and be done with it. That there would be no need for arguing or fighting or even talking, that they could know each other well enough that their words could be set aside, forgotten for the night because warmth and holding each other was more important.

Perhaps he could offer to argue in the morning. His price, for sharing the bed tonight. But he glances at the clock and knows it is far too late for heading over there. In a few more hours the sun will rise, and though his hours by the very nature of his work have always meant starting late, ending later, he has never outgrown the sunrise. He would be willing to give it up, though, for the warmth of his lover's body beside him.

But it's far too late, and the sun will be up soon, and he knows he will have to accept the artificial warmth of the greeting of a new day.