October 6, 2016 by Ray Yanek
There was no dreaming, just the silent screen of deep sleep, the peace of the nothingness.
Then a tapping at the window, a drumming. Soft. Slow.
I am suddenly awake, close to being awake, maybe a little bit awake, struggling, fluttering, trying to hold on to the melody, the lullaby, that drifts, lingers, lazes among the surrounding shadows.
It is raining and my thoughts drift to Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sonnet and how her rain was full of ghosts that tapped and sighed against her glass.
Shadows move around the room, cast about by the ceiling fan twirling slowly, so slowly, so infinitely slow. There are no ghosts here.
Something flashes at the edges of the window. A rumble sounds in the distance. The fan, the other fan, the stand up one, not the ceiling fan, sends a breath of air across the foot and the calf that I cannot keep covered at night.
The one foot must always stay uncovered. Just the one foot. Not both of them. Never both of them.
And then a yang of warmth. Near my shoulder, my right arm.
The harmony of the rain plays softer, yet also more intense, somehow peaceful.
Although drowsy, I realize that there is little better than this as I turn towards that warmth, the warmth that is my wife. She lays on her side. I press up against her back and bottom, slip the front of my knees into the back of hers, and wrap my arm around her.
I smell the shampoo in her hair. I feel her breaths rise and fall under my arm.
A sudden urge alights, something old, something that resonates. I want to explore this warmth more fully as the rain tumbles down outside. I want to know the woman behind this warmth more deeply there in the cool touch of the fan. I want to experience the flash of her essence, hold it, devour it.
But I stay still, eyes fluttering in time with the drumming of the rain. I press myself tighter against the warmth so I can better hear how her breath mingle with the sound of the rain, the rotation of the fan blades, and the darkness that begins to drift down over me.
There was no dreaming that night, just the silent screen of deep sleep, the peace of the nothingness.
Later, when I wake again. The rain is gone and the gray is departing, being replaced a soft light slanting in from the under the shade.
But the air is still chilly, the fan is turning. I still only have one leg under the blanket, and the warmth is still there.
The warmth is still there.
And I know that eventually, the rain will once again steal in during the night to bring me awake.