Thursday, November 15, 2007


It all reverberates when you're tired.

Take a step on a tile floor and the little "pat" of your heel hitting the ground resounds, "tap-ap-ap-p-p-p," against all those little bones you can't name in your ear. Lean on your desk and hear a creak that goes on for centuries, seeming so deafening it's a miracle you don't get fired. Or, for real fun, just close those tired, swollen eyes and breathe deep.

We so often forget there's a bellows inside us, constantly sucking in and blowing out vast amounts of air. When we're sedate that's about the only bodily function we can hear, and every heavy breath is both a strain and a blessing. A long sigh, laborious though it is to the insomniac, cleanses, too. Exhale all that weariness, if only for a moment, and feel your muscles lap up the air.

But this little respite is forgotten immediately as you force open those damn tired eyes. Watch your peripheral vision flicker, watch the words on your screen blur; feel a weight on your eyelids so heavy God may as well be blinding you. This is your punishment, you fool, for being so nocturnal--


She stopped typing, the keys clattering into silence, and looked to the flicker-blur shambles of pajamas and tears in the doorway. The mosaic of color--pink top, blue pants, yellow stuffed bear with half a head--slowly resolved itself into her sister, who rubbed at sleepy, unhappy eyes.

"Hey, kid," Mel yawned, rising from her chair, setting it wobbling just like her thoughts. She hip-checked it away; the cheap plastic wheels scrabbled angry on the tiles. "Bad dream?"

"Your computer's loud." Petulant, accusatory, with a glare towards the offending monolith; Mel wasn't sure whether to defend her old Gateway (with its 10dB keyboard) or bemoan its necessity. She strode to her sister and settled on an apologetic hug, crouching down to fold around the girl.

"The laptop is in the shop," she soothed, smoothing the unkempt blonde wisps kicked up by Jenny's pillow. "Otherwise I could work in my room."

"S'okay." This Jenny mumbled, staring at Mel's knees. A pause, and grumpily she added: "I did have a bad dream."

"What about?" Bathed in the monitor's firelight Mel considered Jenny's phobias: buses, flytraps, Jack Skellington, nuns, what was the last one?

"The funeral." So soft Mel felt it more than heard it, and yet for all its quiet booming in the apartment, for all the apartment's size carrying like they were in St. Peter's. Then, choked off, as Jen buried her face in Mel's shoulder.

Mel blinked through newly-blurring vision, held her tighter, was glad she didn't look up.

No comments: