Afraid at Night (and some afternoons)

On my wedding night I lay in bed for forty-five minutes before I realised I was alone. I fantasise about sleeping alone, these days. Julie is my wife. She has killed before, a spider, but still. She wears an asbestos suit to bed, she calls it a nightgown. Her toes are improved with blades, blades forged of the strongest keratin. I wake with them lanced in my leg. A dog sleeps with us. (And I do not mean Julie’s sister, HA HA HA, although she tried to get in bed with us once and we shooed her away.) The dog is named Bullet and not because he is speedy, but because he is part bull and part, uh, something with “et” in it. He has gas, awful, paint-peeling gas. The toilet runs sometimes, I ignore it. I dream in black and white, every dream is like a film from the forties and everyone starts their sentences with ‘Look, you mug’ or ‘Yeah, see’ or ‘Hey, I ran into your mother on my way home from work - with my Buick.’ I eat in bed, a lot, the broiler makes me far too warm, but a man gets hungry. Some nights, I sleep not at all and I lie awake waiting for the paper-girl to drop off my Boston Globe, which is odd, as I live in Cleveland. I feel drowsy, now. I have just finished a Nicholas Sparks novel. It was a very good read. A man, in it, died at the end and the lonely widow, who loved him, cried. (I mean to say, the woman was a widow before the man died, she was seeing him, romantically, having lost her own husband, who died in another Nicholas Sparks novel.) After the man died, the non-former-husband-man, that is, the widow cried, as noted, and then went on happily with her life. I wonder how Julie would react if I died. She is sleeping next to me, snoring. Bullet lies on my left leg, it is asleep (leg). The sun begins its ascent. I better go get the Globe.

©Roy Chen

©Roy Chen