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" Into Every Life | 2008 | Operation Reconnect "

04.11.08 12:54 p.m.

Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.  

-Anais Nin


Take My Waking Slow

There is a strange joy in watching someone sleep, their unconscious sighs and the pressure of their arms around you. (This isn't about Melanie, but this isn't about cheating.)

Xuan and I spent several hours taking pictures of one another at Madame Brett Park. We retire to her house and she says she wants to take a nap. I laugh a little, but see that she is serious when she offers me a pair of workout pants and asks me to nap with her. It feels totally innocent and I concede after a moment's hesitation. The situation feels a little surreal, something a preschooler would want. When she comes out of the bathroom, she is dressed neck to ankle in a matching pajama set. She is so tiny as to be almost childlike. She has no romantic designs on me, she just wants someone in her bed while she falls into dreams.

Knowing that she will go away, knowing she has an expiration date in my life that is rapidly approaching, makes this all a little more precious. I have to do now what I know I will regret having not done later.

It's hard to tell the difference between her sleeping murmurings - she talks in her sleep of Tinkerbell and colors - and her semi-conscious insistences that I get back in bed and go to sleep. "Is my bed not cozy?" she grumbles.

The rest of the time, I sit my head on my hand and just watch, seeing the world outside her window getting darker and faintly listening to the shouting of inner city children who have yet to be displaced by gentrification. I absorb the whole experiences, the feel of her hair against my face, the smell of her skin, the warmth of her apartment on the first night that deserves it.

It is intimate and I realize I haven't had that level of nonsexual intimacy in years, not since I was slept next to Keilaina and Zack, my arms around her and hers around him on my loft bed. I've missed feeling that safe.

As I leave, I kiss Xuan on her forehead. She looks so impish. I kiss the top of her head and tell her to get more sleep. Napping after dark isn't "vegging out" to me. It is sleeping, no matter what she groggily insists, and does not feel proper.

In all likelihood, she will go away and never return. She faintly wants to stay here, but her job will pull her away and there is no reason to return. She was brought in my life only to walk out of it, taking with her the connection I instantly felt, a level of immediate friendship that occurs rarely anymore.

Soon in Xenology: Anonymous. Wounded feelings.

last watched: Penelope
reading: Dune
listening: The Vines

" Into Every Life | 2008 | Operation Reconnect "

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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