Noun. A series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring in a person's mind during sleep.
My acupuncturist tells me that not being able to fall asleep represents not being able to let go of the day - or letting the day die. And not being able to stay asleep is connected to the fear of the unknown. He places small needles in strategic points on my wrists, my abdomen, my ankles, and proposes I write about my death. Specifically, what it would feel like to die. What it would mean to those around me. How I would say goodbye, and who I need to say goodbye to, and who I wouldn’t. He says in order to find sound sleep, I must first tackle this assignment, then cautions it will not be easy, admitting, “It took me six months to be able to write my own.”
I wear your clothes to sleep, in lieu of being with you. I have gathered these artifacts during our series of archaeological digs, our acts to create something by removing something else. My collection is small, but specific. White, cotton, slim fit, v-neck tees. Black and blue dress shirts with darts in the collar. Black boxer briefs with a red band. What once covered your skin now hugs mine. Our excavation has been suspended, and these pieces are my only proof that once, we existed. A you, and an I. A we.
Sometimes, when I dream, I realize within the dream that I am dreaming. That if I tried hard enough, I could wake myself up to get myself out of a less than desirable scenario, or maybe even influence the direction of my thoughts. Last night, this realization came to be, but I couldn't wake myself up, and at one point I thought, "Oh God. It's because I am dead. I died. And this is where I will now always be, because I am no longer a being." Ever feel a surge of terror and peace at the same time? Mostly I just wanted to know how I died. Was it fast or slow. Did it hurt. Did I know it was coming. Did I bleed. I hoped that I'd somehow managed to right my wrongs, correct my unfinished business. That I had said every, "I love you" and "I'm sorry," that I had asked for and received forgiveness, that I had bestowed my own. And then I woke up. 48-pound Catahoula hound dog nestled into the crook of my legs, softly snoring. A slight, cool, Pacific Northwest breeze kissing my face from the open window above my head. And outside perched on a wire high above, a murder of crows shouting at me, "You are here. You are still here."
I want more time with you. I want to see you again, I want to be alone, and I want to be with you. I want to not want. I want you to dream. I want to sleep, and not dream of you.