Exercise 4 – Unstable Self

She flips from one side, to the other.  Sighs.  Twists her body deeper into the mattress.  Just fall asleep already!  Sleep has not been visiting her lately.  Has not called, or even waved as it passes by.  In fact, she is pretty sure sleep has been actively and intentionally avoiding her.  And they used to be so close.  She turns onto her back, flinging one arm wide.  It lands on the other side of the bed and for a moment, just half a heartbeat she is surprised to find it empty.  The sheets are smooth and cold.  Her fingers claw at them, balling them in her fist as she settles back into reality.  This is what I wanted.  A sudden anger wells, at sleep, at the sheets, at the empty spot that reaches over to keep her awake.  She tries to kick off the covers, but they tie themselves around her legs, mocking her attempt at an angry outburst.  She swings the tangle of legs, sheets and blankets over the side of the bed, letting gravity suck the offending covers off as she sits up.  The stares at the darkness.  It stares back.  It’s so quiet.  No snoring, no breathing, no ticking of the giant, ancient wristwatch on the dresser.  This is what I wanted.

She paces into the kitchen, flipping on every light as she passes, angry at the darkness for making her feel so alone, so empty.  The kitchen is empty, too, half gutted.  She looks back towards the bedroom.  No one has followed her.  Of course no one followed me.  There’s no one to follow me.   She looks for her favorite mug, rummages for several minutes through the pathetic collection.  Realizes it’s gone, now.  So much is gone, now.  Something feels hollow inside her.  Something feels empty.  This is what I wanted?

She grabs another cup, fills it with day-old coffee, punches the buttons on the microwave a little harder than necessary.  It’s not like it’s my fault.  Not all my fault.  Not like it was my idea.  Not just my idea.  Just because I was the one that suggested it.  Just because I finally said it.  I’m not taking all the blame.  It was for the best.  She doesn’t wait for the microwave to beep.  She goes outside, sits on the porch steps and looks into the dark yard.  The grass needs cut.  Guess that’s my job now.  Something stings in her eyes.  Something aches in her throat.  Something feels empty.  This is what I wanted?

The coffee tastes bitter.  I need to get out of here.  Need to get some good coffee.  Need to go somewhere.  What was that stupid little diner called?  I heard about it so many times, you’d think I could remember.  I know it opens early.  I need to get out of here. I need a break.  She leans over to dump the coffee in the bushes.  Something about the porch step seems strangely empty.  Didn’t something used to be here?  She places her hand on the cool cement, traces her fingers in a circle.  It was a flower pot, wasn’t it?  Yeah.  There was always a flower pot here.  Didn’t always have flowers in it, and I’m pretty sure it was cracked, but it’s always been here.  She feels to sting, the ache, again.  It’s always been here.  She lays her hand flat on the empty step.  Is this what I wanted?


~ S.D. Bullard


~ by sdbullard on July 12, 2013.

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