Friday, June 6, 2008

Day one hundred and fifty eight ... Sweet dreams.

The heat is coming.

I keep hearing about its imminent attack.

Like some sort of unavoidable retaliation for an egregious act of malice.

Try to stay indoors--that's what they tell us.

Refrain from any strenuous activity--that's what they tell us.

Three days of a heat wave--that's what they tell us.

But, right now it sure doesn't feel imminent. It feels like a mistake.

In fact, right now, it's downright cool. Like the kind of night where you could easily pull an Afghan over you and prop open the book you've been stubbornly trying to get through for three months. Or maybe pull the cat up off of the floor and put it on your belly, forcing a decision of gracious acceptance, or blatant indignance.

The nerve!

I'm sitting on the couch of my Mattapoisett summer-home, getting ready for it all, trying to remember what the heat feels like, trying to pretend I'm uncontrollably uncomfortable, but it won't come. 

Can you feel hungry when you're full? 

Can you feel pain when you're well?

Can you feel hot when you're cool?

Can you? 

I could be sleeping right now, or lying in bed trying to think myself to sleep, though the observance of this act rarely gets remembered. Most often we only become aware of it right before we begin to lose consciousness, when our leg kicks the blanket and we feel our eye lids bounce apart, breaking away from each other like a barbell from a weight lifter's chest, lashes fighting for independence as we hear the noise from our windpipe roar, and could swear it came from the other side of the room. Who could that have been. Who's here?

Well, you are.

And you drift off again, this time even more quickly, and the same damn thing happens. This time though, you're sure it's been much longer--hours longer--and you throw the covers off and hold your hands high above your head clenching your fists--you've surely done it this time--you're late for work. Then, you realize it isn't more than five minutes you've been under, and you quickly try to think what you were doing just before you fell asleep, realizing you were actually trying to fall asleep. Then it hits you that you could still be dozing if you hadn't just woken yourself up with the sound of your own breathing. And, like a slot machine whose last tumbler has finally come to a stop, you can average all the data received on both sides of consciousness and understand where you are, who you are, and why a sense of safety, above all else, is the most desirable condition we as humans can pursue. 

And then you smile and fold a pillow in two and slip it under your head as you hear the familiar sound of your neck cracking.

And then, in a matter of minutes, the light comes, and you feel as tired as ever.

And you curse the unfortunate impracticality of not being able to enjoy the act of sleeping, other than the eventual feeling of being rested which you only fully appreciate when you're wide awake. If you stay in bed and walk the fine line between consciousness and dreams, you can imagine that you are wide awake enough to fly around through the air with the mere wave of your arms, past the old joke shop on the corner and into the bakery that makes the malasadas, out the window and back to the house you grew up in where the old mailman is crouching while he prunes the bushes, watching you and waving at you as you float by, up, over the bell tower. And you look back to see that the city appears so small it could be a fresh soda spill on the floor sputtering and bubbling until it comes to a steady, shiny stop.

Suddenly, you hear the alarm on your jet pack telling you you've run out of fuel, and you feel gravity's pull bringing you down faster and faster. Just as you see the dark, green grass coming to meet your countenance, you open your eyes faster than a camera's lens, revealing the green digits of your clock staring at you from a foot away. And then, reaching over with a heavy hand, ripped and buzzing with pins and needles, you fumblingly depress the big button on top of your alarm clock, mercifully bringing an end to the loud, rippling, square-wave torture.

And then, it's time to get up, so you can get tired all over again.

And your feet hurt when your weight resumes its place on your ankles.

And, as you walk to the kitchen, you hear the newsman who is as excited as can be, to bring you news of unavoidable inconvenience.

The heat is coming. 

The heat is coming.

Thanks for reading,


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