Stumbling toward the bathroom, shoulder slamming into door frame: now I’m awake. Whatever that means. Sitting throned, I hear tap, tap, tap. Dachshund Ginger’s nails are too long. With her usual voice, she clearly says, “Owww,” meaning out. Gayle taught her that. “Hold on, girl. Daddy’s first.”
Done with business, I let her outside to do hers. The stove clock tells me it’s 3 a.m. Why do I keep rousing at such an ungodly time? Oh, yeah; a dream. I don’t recall it. I woke tripodly again, my gonads announcing arousal. Twenty seconds on the can took care of that. I wish I could tap into dreams that give me erections. They’re the only times I’m really solid. How ironic. My unconscious reveries are realer than my mundane days, which transpire more or less by rote.
Ginger raps on the kitchen door with her elongated nails. I let her inside. She immediately returns to her bed. Yeah, easy for her. She didn’t bump into anything.
I snag my cigarette pack off the coffee table, light one. Wide awake…that’s a misnomer; unable to sleep, I tell myself, This is why I keep napping afternoons. Sleep cycle’s out of whack. Gayle didn’t flinch when I left the bed. Sleeps like a stone. The dark of closed eyelids matches outdoors, as it should. In twelve hours or so I’ll be sitting on the sofa, head drooping onto my chest. She’ll say, “Again? You have to force yourself to stay up later.” Gayle doesn’t get it. No matter when I crash, be it nine, ten, eleven p.m. or midnight, I’ll still rise at three, my dreams demanding to leak into conscious life. They’re such nags.
However, I like them. Normal consciousness is partial. I drift through days, only occasionally being snapped into awareness. Dreams are now moments, my entire being focused. Snap! This morning’s starred Susie, neighborhood girl from thirty-plus years ago. For God’s sake, she’s been dead for five years. So vibrant in my subconscious. Unfinished business. Never dated her nor touched her, but always wanted to respond to her—unintentional?—teasing. The sinewy arc formed by her weight being on one leg, the other, relaxed, emphasizing the opposing waist-hip curve, subtle swells of abdomen and butt. Even conscious, mind’s eye sees her clearly now, the difference being I’m not rising. I wish I could reside in my subconscious. The older I get, the more Andre Breton’s Nadja makes sense.
I’m nuking yesterday’s coffee, expecting to make a fresh pot before Gayle arrives to daylight. No wonder she’s happier than I am; she sleeps a lot more. I wonder if she’s riding a rod right now in her dream. The thought makes me snicker. Women aren’t like men.
She just snorted. Disturbance in the realm. Pleasant? I’ll never know. Regardless how much we love each other, we can’t climb inside each other’s head. I would if I could. I’ll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours. That would make my day. Hell, it’d make my life.
“Coffee in the middle of the night?”
I hadn’t heard her padding into the kitchen. Gayle is petite, slender and light on her feet. “I always start my day with java. Why do you think you always get fresh-brewed when you start yours?”
Gayle grins. “Because I don’t drink it at three o’clock.”
“Because you’re not awake.”
She throws her head back, laughing. “Have you ever asked yourself why you are?”
I hesitate, not wanting to get into details about my dream life. “My dreams usually wake me.”
Now Gayle guffaws, loudly. “Ever wonder why?”
“I guess I’m a light sleeper.”
Gayle hugs my waist, her sparklers staring at mine. “Sweets, you have no idea what a deep sleeper you are.”
I slit my eyes, quake my head. “What do you know that I don’t?”
She smirks and stares into the air at ten o’clock. “We both know subconscious rules. So…I take advantage of yours.”
It sinks in. “You little…are you serious?”
Gayle lets go of me. “Well, you have had a…hard problem. I don’t hold it against you, honey. When you’re awake.”
My face warms. “That isn’t fair.”
She pouts. “We do what we can for each other; you know that. But in your sleep you get so aroused. I miss that. The Viagra thing’s okay, but—”
I shush her with my hand. “Don’t. It’s all right. I get it. I’m just amazed I sleep through it.”
“Then, you’re straight with it?”
“Bad pun, hon. But yeah.” I guess I do live in my subconscious.
Gayle kisses my cheek and returns to bed.
The newspaper just hit the front door. I might as well get it. What a bringdown.