She goes to sleep early because of the dull throbbing in her head, a steady staccato that pulses in time with the rhythmic hum of the heat vent (that eternal drone of the present moment vibrating in the stale air). She goes to sleep early and she dreams of better places.
I am nineteen, dizzy with gin and distance. I am thousands of miles from home in a place where the sky is made of pitch and glitter and milk. My clothes are soft flowing things; my hair is coiled tight and tangled by the damp air; my skin tastes like salt (or so you say, and oh I’d have myself believe every word of it). You have hair that is long and dark and thick as sin. It falls about my shoulders as we sit tangled together in the open star-lit stillness. Up on the hill, the landlady’s dogs keep watch (they are illegal in most places, having been bred to bite and never let go). Sometimes we can still hear the rise and fall of familiar voices, filtered through the thick air and the drape of mahogany trees. And we know that somewhere out there are our families, our homes, the places we’ve been, the books we’ve read, the people we’ve loved, the rules we’ve learned to follow. But right here, right now, we are breathing air that we’ve never breathed before. Right now all that exists is this moment, this new air to breathe.
Here’s to new opportunities for love, for wonder, and for a few stars and gods to look down on me tonight as I lie alone here.