Behind the curtain, under the bedsheets.

She is exhausted.


She walks into her room and shuts the door behind her.

She rests her forehead on the door frame, and stands there for a while,

Just taking a few breaths to herself.


Her room smells like him.


She tries to push the thought to the back of her head,

But each breath pulls the image further and further forward in her mind.


She lays her heavy bags down on the ground and flips off the light that is giving her such a headache.


She opens her windows up, because she hates it when they are closed.

She isn’t sure quite why it bothers her so much,

but, she hates feeling trapped.

And when her window is shut, it makes her feel like a little bird, locked in a tiny wire cage.


She eases into her bed, and stretches out her tired muscles.

She rolls over in continuation of her stretch but stops abruptly.


Her sheets smell like him.


She collapses into herself a little bit; she just doesn’t want to think of him right now.

It’s too hard for her, sitting alone in the dark, surrounded by the idea of him, by her memories.


She pushes him as far away from her as she possibly can in this moment.

She doesn’t want to lay awake and miss him until it becomes unbearable.


She just wants to sleep.


So she closes her eyes, and tries to forget everything.

She closes her eyes, and tenderly, lovingly, lifts herself into the arms of Sleep.


But her dreams are turbulent.

They seem so real.

And they are so violently disarming.


He is running.

He is running so fast.

Running so far.

Even in this storm.

The rain cascades down from the cheeks of the weeping clouds,

And the wind howls and threatens to rip the Earth apart.


She can’t catch up to him,

She feels so sick, nauseous.

In her stomach,

In her mind too.


She stumbles and falls onto the sharp rocks that line the beach,

And strikes her head on a large one.

She writhes in immobilizing, disorienting pain.

She is too frail, too fragile to pick herself up.


The next wave is beautiful.

So ruthless, so swift.


Its arch is calling out to the shore,

And its siren-song will be answered.


And there is nothing she can do.


So she lets the gentle, cruel waves sweep her out to their core, and she plunges down, down, down, into the heart of this watery void.


She can’t fight anymore,

She’s too far away,

Too far away for him to ever find her.


She is lost.


Her lungs give up, and her body sinks lower and lower into this horrifying oblivion.

Her arms still extend upward, crying out to him, even though she can’t be saved. Even though it is too late.


She wakes up brutally,

Her hands reaching beyond reality to someplace in the night,

To wherever he might be.


She clutches her covers close to her body,

Only capable of thinking about how they are so insubstantial in comparison to the broadness of his chest.

How they are so cold compared to the warmth that glows from inside of him.

How the rough fabric contrasts to his smooth skin.


She tosses and turns,

She can’t lie still,

And he is haunting her,

This dark night.


The moon stares down at her through her still open window,

She thinks of his fingers intertwined with hers, and her heart throbs in her chest wildly.


She fades in and out of consciousness,

Each time fighting the urge to whisper his name to the darkness,

Hoping maybe it will begin to love him just as much as she does.


But the darkness is unkind to her, and she suffers throughout the night,

Plagued by the weight of her affections.


Sleep finally takes pity on her.

It swathes her in her sheets,

Plants the calm, sweet kisses of rest on her eyelids,

And gratefully, mercifully, she slumbers until morning.


When she finally stirs the sun is high in the azure sky.


She sits up slightly, and her first thought is of him.


And though no one is present to see it,

The faintest trace of a smile touches her lips.


And then she stands up, stares boldly at the world waiting just outside her windows,

steps out from behind her curtain,

and prepares to face the new day.


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