Chapter 1: untitled wip 


Half second of disorientation dissolves sharply into perfect awareness. Pain radiating from my face. Stabbing ache in ribs like a punch in the gut. Broken rib, probably. Uncertain. Hurts on inhale, hurts on exhale. It is mid morning.

Strange dream lingers: You with teacups for eyes, sharp razor blades for fingers: disturbing. Odd sensation coiled up in my chest, like a breath not caught. Distress. Fear. No. Could it? Even with teacups for eyes, it’s still only you. Sadness, perhaps. Loss. Regret? It fades. It’s morning, dreams always fade.
It is thirty five degrees outside; nearly five degrees cooler than yesterday. 

The long slow trudge toward winter. Muted light peaking through the window; it is roughly quarter past nine, drizzling, and deeply overcast. Has been raining since somewhere around 4am. Will be muddy down the road; must remember to wear rain boots.
Left leg stiff, more than sore: twisted? Probably strained? Surely an Impact of a fall. Secondary injuries untended. It’s okay, bodies heal. A little pain never hurt anyone.

Mozart concerto in my head. Why? He likes Mozart. Doesn’t ever seem to know it is when he hears it. Doesn’t seem to care.

“I love that, what was it?” he’ll say, sitting, eyes closed, relaxed. I imagine what he says instead is, I love you, and means it. It is like sunshine. 

It is radiating out from him, like sun heat, like rings of smoke. Though he hasn’t said it yet, only feels it, feels the urge to. And then here I am caught in the moments just before he says it, the moment when it’s utterly true, before it has a chance to degrade, fall apart. He’s about to say it, to say, I love you, to me, of all people, to me, words about to appear in the air in front of him like hazy moving clouds. 

I let it hover over me, the idea, the sensation. Listening to Mozart, and him sitting in his chair enjoying Concerto B, instead of loving me, but it is so close. I concentrate, push the dire depths of my hopeless heart strings into the music. “I love” (you), he says, “what was that?”

One can only hope. 

Why must I have a soft heart, a romantic heart? 

*****

I don’t want to open my eyes yet; reality is never quite as interesting. My subconscious is mad.

Nose runny, forehead sore, mild ache in left mandibular lateral incisor.

Eyes are watery, moisture from what exactly? Damp eyelashes. The fuck. Unconscious tears. Would I cry if I lost him? I think I would. Emotional wound is like a too- overwhelming physical one, prompting a physiological reaction. 

The world is a hazy gray place once the eyes are open. The dull light of morning. Off-ivory, bare walls, bedroom door shut tight, dull ceilings and the pattern of raindrops and streaks on the window.

I will continue on, I always do. Humans have the ability to adapt, and it is inevitable, this loss. But the memories, they will never be taken away. 

_______________________________

Charles is moving around the kitchen; water boiling in the water kettle. Boxes and boxes of teabags against the tabletop, next to the sugar squares. He’s still groggy, probably didn’t sleep well. Nightmares again (of course). One of these days I will just barge right in there, I will stop Charles’ nightmares with the sheer force of my will. I will stare them down, and fight them. He’s swearing under his breath now, why? Tired? Frustrated? 

Charles’ tired feet against the floor, walking toward my bedroom with a mug of hot liquid in his hand. He walks more carefully when he’s bringing me a cup of tea, as if something dreadful will happen if he spills it. Sensation in my chest, like my heart smiles as he approaches. I know the symptoms of being desperately, wistfully in love. Sort of wish I didn’t, but you can’t wish feelings away.

He taps on the door, like a polite housemate. A creak as the door opens slightly. I love that he doesn’t care what I think about it; he comes in because he needs to, because he wants to. Wants to see that I’m all right, whether or not I’m all right. Charles, he’s like a sunrise rising from the horizon. He feels like warmth sneaking into a cold place. His hair, dishevelled, his face full of sleep. I want to kiss him, I want to wrap myself around him and never let him go. Morning is not so gray when he’s here. He is my palette of colors. Swatches of meadow light, in a dewy tropical forest. 

He calls my name, voice is rough; hours of not speaking through the night. A rusty instrument. Imagine someone, hidden away in a cave for years, living a life of sleep and prayer, not speaking to a soul for years, then trying to form words with vocal chords that have been so disused they’ve forgotten their purpose; the human body needs to be used to fully function. Like your heart, says the my knowing subconscious. Like your heart, Luna. 

Metaphor: not really my area.

Charles sits down on my bed, the small of his back against leg. He is the very definition of colors, of warmth. Must act bored, act vaguely annoyed.

He’s set the tea down on my bedside table, his hand moving to my face.

“How are you this morning?” Always the protector, my Charles. No matter what happens. Light touches against my cheekbones, testing the bandage across my forehead, his fingers trace lightly at my torn lip.
“Fine. It’s fine” Deep breath; accidental cough; wince from the pain. Charles’ hands against my chest, only the thin material of a t-shirt between us. Eyes flutter shut again.
“Pass me my tea.” Not a question, it is a demand. And finally trying to talk. Heart beats weirdly. Warm mug in my hand, warm fingers on mine. “Thank you” I say, it is not uncharacteristic but I meant to say something else that will confuse him. He stops, and I open my eyes and watch him. He smiles. He looks concerned. I must look not great.

“That’s all right,” he says. His voice is gentle, soft like his hands.

I will put on my rain boots before going up to the mountains. It will not be difficult, and I am intensely private. I enjoy the solitude. I will walk carefully for Charles’ sake and Charles will hold my arm, in a friendly way. He loves another, and while it is heart wrenching, I want him to be happy. 

We will have dinner, and I will eat, at Charles’ insistence. Maybe soup at a shop next door. A quiet little cavern. And when we come home again I will play some Mozart to write, the music for him really. He will keep his eyes open. And he loves the music. 

And that will be enough.