Awareness comes slowly to him, in the darkness. Waking up is something
akin to swimming up a waterfall, and he blinks his eyes open to see the
first graying of dawn, over the hills, gleaming in the sky outside his
half-open window. The sight brings memories, memories of morning's first
light in summers past, and though it's barely been two dozen summers the
memories seem to go on forever.
Memories of nights spent before a glowing monitor until the light
outside appears once again, of endless hours of writing, papers and poems
and stories and letters to friends, all in that netherworld that appears
somewhere after the late news and disappears with the sunrise. And walking
out his front door, standing on the porch as the dawn comes, listening to
the birds, so quiet, and yet somehow cacophonous when placed against the
stillness that came before.
Memories of midnight walks, two a.m. walks, five a.m. walks, feet
crunching on asphalt and gravel. The world is always silent, shut down and
motionless in the wee hours, and he would go out to walk in the silence,
relishing in the cool night air, walking into the forest, away from the
buzzing orange streetlights and the world, to watch the stars between the
Memories of nights spent alone, in silent uncaring darkness,
staring out his open bedroom window to watch the sky lighten, the book
beside him lying open, forgotten. Staring at nothing, the incomparable
show of existence spread before his unseeing eyes, feeling like he is the
only person in the entire world.
A gentle, cool breeze brushes his face, in from the window, filled
with the scents of trees and summer and the great living world outside,
and she moves closer to him, her back pressing gently against his chest,
feet brushing his shins, seeking warmth, still sleeping, moving as
instinctively as the squirrels he used to watch playing, for hours, on the
branches outside this same window.
He pulls the quilt up, over her shoulders and his, and slips his
arm around her stomach, fingers sliding lightly over the soft cotton of
her shirt, a motion that is unfamiliar yet totally natural. She turns her
head, slightly, and he can see her blink, her eyes trying to open, hair
tousled by sleep, cheeks dusted with freckles, half-awakening at a touch
that was not wholly expected. His head comes off the pillow, just barely,
almost of its own will, to brush his lips across her cheek in a gentle
kiss, and she settles, wraps her arms around his, making a soft, loving
noise, curling against him, as they fall asleep again.
Copyright (C) 2000 Garth Melnick