Our last dawn overtakes us with so many dreams unfulfilled.
— Julius Polyaenus
You slept so well and recovered from the exhaustion of days, from the crush of ideas weighing down your eyes, from reformulations, from excellent and demanding lessons that shortly afterwards seemed too heavy, and bright and dark. You slept in a cocoon, wrapped in bedding, and surely, if you had a choice, you’d rather never wake up. There was now nothing hateful or deserted about life. Life rained down and completed itself, and that was why it could end as a paid-off debt. Then we would be able to avoid the goodbyes and other formalities without a bad conscience. Do you swear?
Only after you would I fall asleep, and long before you would I wake up. This was how things were, and I saw that it was good. It was good to pretend that I slept, well-fitted, against your torso when your arms wouldn’t let me out. I didn’t move a finger or make a sound, so as not to wake you up, and I suffered cramps peacefully, even smiling with satisfaction. I would just play dead, feeling a bodily weight on the mattress, an even heat, a distributed heat. And, after some time, because your sleep was totally shut on itself and showed no signs of life, I would check if you were dead as gently as possible. It was the horror of a second, or two, but the first second is already a second. Where did the first go? You breathed, after all, but quietly, as only beasts know how to do. It wasn’t on purpose that you breathed. Innocence was a light breeze. Thinking about it now, it was very likely that, when you hid so much, covering up your chin with the bed cover, without ever turning your back to me, you were really hiding your wings. Breathe out, breathe in, tenth second. Fall in apnea.
There was a noise in the distance. At first, I didn’t pay any attention to it. Big houses have so many sounds, they speak foreign languages: those of lizards and twigs. Then the noise came back and progressed. It became clearer and flew through the open spaces of the house up to the attic. It waited on the other side of the door. There were steps up the stairs. The firm throng of at least two people, or four feet. Their rapid approach had a note of surprise about it, perhaps already emitting a few hints of revenge, divinations, the sounds of the march hitting loudly on the walls. And the bedroom door had been left open.
When I woke up, I wanted to throw up through the head. The relief, offered by silence and peace, didn’t erase any trace of the disaster this event had brought to the house on top of the hill. Your dormant form, however, hadn’t changed at any point. A smile of satisfaction could still be imagined in it, a smile of appeased possession, a pleasure of fixity. And your body thought that I, beside it, also slept. It seemed to anticipate the day when both of us will fall asleep. Sleeping is too much like dying, classically, banally. But the similarities unnerved me, and I would be happy to tear up most of them. There are only two ways to do this, however.
The solution was to get up as silently and gently as possible. I did so, pretending I had no weight on the mattress and on the floor, and, without taking care to cover myself with something warm, I went down the stairs flooded with the watery blue that precedes morning. I marveled at the ease with which the corridors tolerated me. The arrange of dried flowers in the Chinese vase, on the telephone table, had no animosity toward me, and everyone smiled from inside the tiny picture-frames scattered about. With that, I felt a little better, but the smell of the house reminded me, even so, that only after several years could my dead skin mix, finely, with the dust in the corners. re 78u
Erj ’+ 0 +. §§§§§§
I passed quickly in front of mirrors, jump cuts, ashamed of my skin. I went to the kitchen. Very hungry and very thirsty. Biscuits and water. No, coffee. And a big chop of nothing on the table. I sat down and waited for the coffee to cool down. I had regained the calm, the rhythm, but the tangled knots of sensation prevailed, our tied knots. I couldn’t deny that there was beauty in almost everything the eyes touched; even in rectangles. The seated eyes envisioned trapezoids. The decorative eyes. Time, arrested like that, and the hot coffee, distracted me from my neural indisposition.
A few years later, I picked up the cup and walked away aimlessly. For no reason, instead of going up, I went to the room that was open. One of the three. To pass the threshold of the door was to reach another world. The palette was different.
The room smelled of underused electrical outlets and printer ink. The furniture, newer than what you could see for the rest of the house, put too much gravity on what might otherwise be a teenager’s room. Teenagers hoard and accumulate; but perhaps there are some who, on the contrary, throw it all away. Their gaze would itself be like a wind-broom of mass graves before anyone who passed, unwary, in front of them; and they, light-heartedly, wouldn’t even try to imagine in which part of the world their chasm of garbage would rest. I didn’t know which group you belonged to; and the signs pointed to yet another category that I failed to conceive.
I laid down and stretched out on the wide, empty bed, feeling that the mattress was naked under the teal blue bedspread. A bed for no one. Or a waiting bed, perhaps. And it was nice and liberating to know you were sleeping on the top floor. Swirling gently over the skin of twilight, we weren’t that far apart. We weren’t even separated. I saw and I touched you with my erection, in fact. I could foresee breakfast and, one by one, all the rewards that the future offers for the subtractions of the previous night.
But one shouldn’t open the drawers of others, not even in good faith and only to find a bit of distraction before a late sleep. Once opened, the drawers of others take offense in their deep lung, and they know how to take revenge. Even after being closed back again, they continue to gestate a solitary remorse, a touch-and-run, a criminal charge equal in proportion to inviolable individuation, and so on, until the last person.
Below the wardrobe built into the wall, almost at a level with the floor, there was a low drawer. Under photocopies under scribbled papers under drawings, a photograph. It wasn’t me. Our breathes stopped meeting face to face. Holding the photograph closely, to take a better look at it in the low light, I tried not to breathe, not make any noise, and make everything return to where it was before, replicating the inclinations and asymmetries. The softer features, the darker skin tone, a slender body, another age, all subtly. He accused me and raised his eyebrows, in quiet cynicism, each time he looked at me without surprise or regret, but confident, and for that very reason, silent. We didn’t say anything.
I returned him to the bottom of the drawer, so as not to raise your suspicion, and, for the first time, I was forced to feel the flawed volume of objects, not finding a position that could alleviate the crooked fit of the back, the guilt, the heartbreak, the aloof, the undone belief that each thing can only be itself and match its corresponding word. For the first time, waking up was necessary, to madly squeeze out the indignation and to leave it as shallow as a leaf caught between the teeth. Command to go up. So I went to wake you up, evil and mismatched, Aeschylean. Your perplexed adoration and your perceptive sweetness, with half-closed eyes, preceded questions with answers, only to confuse everything a little more.
You couldn’t believe me and you tried to stir me back with your hand, to make me more tangible. And I, sovereignly naive, had already broken apart between the outer shell and the interior, filled with a coldness that could only be diabolical, instinctive, tender. I learned to hurt you over and over, thinking that it saved me, until understanding and terror flooded you from top to bottom, standing up, lying down, spinning. It wasn’t enough to just be me. There are other, even worse, forms of selfishnesses that a rare kind of love knows how to invent, and they spread across the floor and eat entire gardens.
The two arms coming out of your afflicted eyes
insisted on putting me in my place
and tracing my outline for you
but almost nothing would remain over that pyre
and you would have to continue
after a speck of ash.
I had to leave before the sun raised
just a little more
to throw lightning inside the room.