I have forgotten all but the vague feeling left behind by my dream from last night. Nostalgic, with a tinge of metallic aftertaste lining the inside of my mouth. I run my tongue over my teeth, trying to wipe out the memory of everything I fail to recollect. A memory of falsehood, an impression of lies. And eccentricities are secrets that have escaped us, quirks we couldn't contain within our ever expanding lives. Like eight-limbed creatures scrambling to slip through the many prisms of self-consciousness.
And all you have to do is smile, before shuffling to the corner of your tiny bed and lifting the duvet. A silent invitation, letting their fingers slip over your waist and intertwine with yours as you turn away from them, allowing yourself to disappear into deep sleep. It’s the sleep you have been fighting off for too long, afraid of waking up to find yourself alone and abandoned, free but lost, stricken and shivering, your skin glistening with fresh bruises and your eyes tearing up from the lashing winds. The muslin cloth you chose for its lightness didn't have a chance against the piercing drizzle which has left it translucent, and you naked. Forlorn, tragically exposed.
The clock strikes three and you find yourself awake in the middle of the night, scarred from this beautiful nightmare. But you find solace in the face of this sleeping stranger beside you, the moonlight grazing past, giving you a solemnly rare opportunity to observe unabashedly, as you familiarise yourself with the lines, ridges and the bare cervix. Something you wouldn't dare when they are awake, subdued by the fear of appearing keen, looking away just before your eyes could meet.
But they are asleep, and you are exhausted from having been dragged through an infinite distance by this unrelenting fear which has you by a noose around your neck, your hands calloused from pushing against your will, your eyes blinded by this anger mingling with self-pity, to form bursts of wild dust around you. You aren't complaining though, because you would still rather suffer the ordeal of uncertainty than let this stranger know how the thought of them overshadows every vein in your body, staining every trail of your being.
Why, I ask. Why do this to yourself? But you have no answers to my anguish on your behalf. You don't have words that can cajole me into believing otherwise. You don't know, and you pretend. I want to grab you by the shoulders and shake till your bones rattle in your body, forcing you to pay attention to my warnings, my words of caution, my love for you which has previously surpassed all madness, even your stubborn angst of self-destruction. But you remain adamant and I give up, sitting down on the concrete, my head in my hands.
And when they wake up, you will yourself to not look away. Instead, you echo verses from a poem you didn't know you remembered, the words barely making it out of your mouth, as they fall through the space between the two of you, forcing this person to lean in till your nose touches their cheek… If I've killed one man, I've killed two / The Vampire who said he was you / And drank my blood for a year / Seven years, if you want to know… the words start to become incoherent and you find yourself slithering into the beguiling comfort of sleep, having already forgotten about the horrors waiting for you on the other side of this fluttering veil, the illusion of which separates me from you.