1.6.2014 Journal Prompt

Image from Upstream Color
Image from Upstream Color

January 6, 2014: She didn’t sleep.

One Reply to “1.6.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. They tell you not to wake them, on no account; but they don’t really explain why. That’s left to the imagination. Maybe the shock of waking will stop their sleep-walking hearts, or they’ll open their sudden undreaming eyes in such a fright that they won’t ever recover, or they’ll wake up not themselves or their wits lost.

    Lottie never said. Not when we moved in together. Not about the trouble she has, and some nights walking in her sleep, and talking, too. And the first time, I woke to urgent whispers and she was quietly calling for help and not hearing me when I answered. She said it was the sea the sea the sea, and she was trying to hold it back, and sweat on her brow with the effort of pushing against the imagined winning waves.

    Then she stopped what she was about and quietly took herself back to bed, leaving me breathless as though I was drowning.

    We talked about it the next morning, and Lottie laughed and she said she was sorry and she said that she hoped I hadn’t been too upset. It’s nothing, not really. Since she was a child, she said, and it just happens for no reason that she knows. And sometimes it’s the sea she is trying to turn back, and sometimes she’s not quite catching clouds with a butterfly net, or the stars are just out of the tip-toe stretching reach of her silver sieve. She says it’s nothing to worry about; just dreaming standing up, she says, and she laughs like a little girl and she kisses me and she takes my hand and presses it in hers.

    So, now, when Lottie murmurs in the hour of dreaming-dark and she shifts in the bed and my sleep is disturbed, the last thing I do is think to wake her. Some nights she is so seeming sad and I hear her weeping and real tears run down her cheek and drip from her chin and are gathered into the cup of her two hands. And she says she just can’t stop, like Alice down the rabbit hole, and soon there’ll be so many tears that she’ll have to swim to reach brighter shores, or else drown.

    I take her in my arms and I am singing so quiet that she doesn’t wake, and I lead her to the bath and we climb inside. I take the plug out so that her tears can drain away and I tell her what I have done, like I am talking to a child, which in truth I am for Lottie is already beginning to thicken about her middle. And we lie down together, and we hold onto each other, with a baby growing in the space between us. And I pick up my song again and I sing her into stillness and sleep:

    Three in a tub
    And who do you think they be?
    The butcher, the baker,
    The candlestick maker
    Turn them out, knaves all three.

    And in time I am asleep, too.

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