(8) Painting the Morn by nicholaiv

(8) Painting the Morn

a short story by nicholaiv

There's an asymmetry to us in the mornings. I imagine how it would be rendered by an artist: from above, me in my corner wrapped around the metaphysical hole in my heart; and you, turned in the opposite direction, far, far away in your winter palace of pillows and sheets.  

This morning, you wake up and I stir. You feed the cat wrapped in the silence of a gray morning. The bathroom light clicks on, and I hear the running of a faucet. A calm drifts through my roused consciousness as the awareness of you in motion registers, but it has a melancholy aftertaste.  

Today is not just today. This morning is every simple morning we've shared, waking up in our bed. To continue with the metaphor of the artist: they're all overlaid on top of each other like sketches on wax paper done by the same practiced hand; no two mornings are the same but as more sketches are made themes emerge. These themes are the impressions of our relationship on each other and the world we inhabit; the realization of us through the establishment of a routine. 

They are the artist's evolution of a personal style through a pattern of practice and discovery. When our morning routine is disrupted irrevocably, as it will be, the beautiful impression of all the sketches of our simplest mornings overlaid ontop of one another will burn so intensely in my memory that it will be a source of incredible pain and pleasure, with all the substance and mystery of a soul.  The cat is at the window. It's cold. The windows beyond the bars are foggy with humidity and the world outside is just impressions of color and form. I think: sometimes it's too difficult to live in a world made heavy by our routines, especially when your fear turns to losing them, as it has been. There is a constant tension between two emotional poles: enjoying these moments, recognizing they are fleeting; and, recognizing that they are fleeting, a preliminary sense of what their loss will mean. Enjoyment and a fear of loss cannot exist simultaneously, and I am bounced from one to the other like a sorry ping pong ball.  You say, "I'll be back by 10," and you lean over the bed to kiss me. Somehow you are dressed, but sleep still hangs on the hard contours of your brow.   

I say, "Ok, come home quick," and I wrap the bedsheet more tightly around myself.  What I'd really meant to say was: don't go yet, time is limited and each moment that goes by without you with me is a moment revoked, and anyway what good is a moment remembered or not without you with to share in it? And if the notably faulty and falsifying faculty of my memory were to work, this shared memory would transform into something more, into you, into you as me, a wondrous repetition that keeps fueled the illuminating mechanism of you in me, and is the light I will carry with me in the blind walk through the moonless night to come. But instead I just say: "Ok, come home quick".  

The cat is curled up next to me now. Without you here, I'm waiting for you to be here. It's a strange feeling to not fully be, but to wait to be, especially when it happens for long stretches of time. 

That's what this period of my life has felt like: a waiting to be, a waiting for a future more concrete than the present. It is becoming immaterial, that things I do are merely placeholders, and placeholders are disposable, and ultimately immaterial. 

This sense of immateriality pervades the things you do until it touches your heart and you begin to disappear. I've felt the horrifying emptiness of disappearing while living; and my reaction to it is to work tirelessly to become material again just to be thwarted time and again by my own disappearing act.  

And just as the last of me was on the verge of ebbing way and I was made nearly transparent by the sureness of my future, you swooped in like a thrush through an open window. 

You claim your space in me. Your dancing shadow is enormous and casts strange and mysterious patterns against my inner walls. You bring your artifacts, which add intrigue and color, and you make me alive under my clear skin, and all I want is to be your home, if you'd let me.  

"I'm back," you say, as you walk in to the room. The cat greets you hungrily. A bird sings in the distance and we remember the piece of us that is missing, but for now, you are back.


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