Recently, Marc from Sorryless and I had an exchange over stragglers. Words that stood alone, without context, dangling and undeleted at the end of his blog post. I asked what if we repurposed the stragglers? A game was on. We’ve attempted to bring new life to our own straggled thought. His blog can be found here: “Re-purposing the ‘stragglers’ in my draft folder- A Writing Challenge” and his straggler was “the will abides to its ransom demands“. My straggler is “I’ll study my dream book later” which I chose because its true context I no longer care to explore, so I’ll follow Marc’s lead and take a stab at fiction.
Straggled thought, saddled dream, and broken door
The alarm went off. Like clockwork, the coffee was made and ready for him. He poured a cup. Raced to the window. No movement yet. She was there, but still. He peed and brushed his teeth at the same time. He delighted in his proficiency to multi-task. The dream flooded his thoughts. He pulled the toothbrush out, spat, grabbed a pen and some toilet paper, scratched out the words, door, hinge, broken, flurry, strangers, colleagues. “I’ll study my dream book later,” he thought.
This was his favorite part of the day. It had been years now. Some women were there every morning, others only once or twice. This one was different. He mounted his perch from across the street. She appeared to be comfortable with the arrangement. Two or three mornings a week now, he’d awake to see her there. He looked at the calendar. Her schedule was erratic. He never knew when to expect her. She must be enough for him because he has had no others since she arrived 90 days ago today. Curled up on her side, his arms weighed her down. Slowly, carefully, she’d pull them off, she’d stretch so far that she looked longer than the bed. Was she taller than him, he wondered. She tiptoed out. He could see her movement as the light shifted onto her partner’s face. What were they to each other? Friends with benefits? Lovers? Boyfriend and Girlfriend?
What was it with this one? He’d watch the women change like the seasons in this man’s life. With him, nothing changed. He always slept on the left, rolling over, almost trapping them with long thick arms. The others would face him. Wait until he awoke. Afraid to move him. With her, he moved closer to her during the night. Every morning her body barely hung off the edge. He wanted her. Just like her partner wanted her. But, she didn’t care. She was like a honey badger. She didn’t give a shit.
Where did she go? Making coffee? On the toilet? Unsure of her whereabouts, he imagined she was still there on the bed. He became the partner. It was his torso that became her saddle. Her legs bent, kneeling over him, and as if she could control every single vertebra in her spine she bowed over him and then twisted her neck to the left, her right cheek brushed his left ear. He had never felt like this before. Her hips were raised, nothing except her tongue connected them. It ran the outline of his ear, and stopped and caressed his earlobe. His eyes were closed. He couldn’t speak. He had never been touched like this before. The words were stuck in his throat. Please. Don’t. Stop.
A horn blared. Why couldn’t she ignore it? Please. Don’t. Stop.
His imagination braked. He was not her saddle. She looked out the south window. If only she looked up. She would see him. Please. Look. Up.
The light was red. Fuck this new traffic light. They might as well hang blinds. The cars slowly pulled into a single file, patiently waiting for the light to change. He counted down from 45 seconds. The spaces in between the cars did not align with his point of view. Please. Don’t. Leave.
The traffic moved. His view unobstructed. She was nowhere to be seen. Her partner threw a pillow toward her shadow. He jumped out of bed. Please. Come. Back.
The light in the adjacent bathroom turned on. One of them cracked the window. He could see their silhouettes through the frosted glass. Showering. Together. Please. Don’t. Stop.
When the bathroom light turned off, he turned to his dream book, fanning through the d’s until he found the word, door. A broken door: Will receive good news from a person far away. He looked at the clock. It was about time. He looked at the building’s entryway. They emerged from the garden apartment. He went east, she went west. Please. Come. Back.