Wednesday, January 7

Holler the Insomnia

I RETURNED TO WORK after the longest consecutive break since I visited America. The last Sunday after new year’s. It had been a good evening; we went out to celebrate our anniversary, and I was merry off beer and cocktails but cast down by the state of our love; at times I was happy, but then I remembered how unhappy She is with me and I fell, helplessly and deep, but trying to savour the times when She smiled.
She fell asleep as soon as Her head touched the pillow and I, unusually, was left wide-awake.
There is no hell like not being able to sleep. My mind worked. It simmered down but then restarted, as fierce as ever, and I was muddled with many thoughts but always the state of our love and where I was going and who was steering. Awful pop songs came into my head, danced for half an hour, drove me insane and then left. Another entered. Danced.
I got out of bed, smoked and looked out of the window; the cats meowed for food; blandly the world was Sunday night asleep.
When I returned, She had shifted.
For a time, I watched Her. Very dimly I could see Her features but most of all the shape of Her skull on the pillowcase. She is beautiful, and She is falling out of love with me. I cried for a moment and then I sniffed Her as though She were a book. I put my nose in Her hair, under Her arm, on Her hands, into Her eye socket; just smelling her. I thought that one day She would be gone and I was always a little fanatical about smells. She would turn, fidget, exhale the sweetest moan – reminding me of the sex we once had – and then She’d soften. The bathroom fan purred. Another pop song was in my head, but this one slightly better. I rolled, tried to sleep yet could not. I arose for another cigarette. Not since I was a child on Christmas eve had sleep so inexorably escaped me. She had moved once more. I wanted to fall asleep facing Her, though I found it an uncomfortable position and became hot. I rolled over, put half of my body outside of the covers and tried some more.
I saw the clock. Three hours.
In the morning, She was gone to work and I had to follow. She had kissed me good-bye.
In the evening, She said She was depressed and it was because of me. So I did not go near Her, but polished my shoes, did my ironing and cooked myself dinner and by the time I came to put words down all the beer had made me a little tired.
The next day I went in the rain to the hospital and stood there for a while. I did not know why I stood there for She had told me She was already inside but I stood there in the rain regardless. It just seemed like a good thing to do. Between the buildings was squeezed a small garden that somebody somewhere owned and somebody else somewhere else tended to, but they daren’t tend to it in the rain, but there the paths were brown with age and shiny in the rain, walked upon by brisk feet seeking a shortcut and the tree leaves staggered water down on to my head. It was something to do. I stared at the hospital entrance as though there might be some answers in there, but there were only people coming and going, and none too impressively.
The bookshop down the road was warm. I did not notice any January sale. What else is there for one to do when down other than to visit a bookshop? I spied an Everyman’s collection of erotic stories that I thought of buying for Her but presumed She would not like it, and let it be on the shelf.
When I emerged, having bought not a thing, the sun was finally breaking through the clouds and the rain had shifted. I walked along looking up until I made myself dizzy.

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