I would have nightmares if I could only get to sleep.

But I’ve got a great view! I can see for miles into Jersey out the window by my bedside. It’s pretty spectacular, especially at two-ish in the morning, when the edge of sight is dotted with factory lights and smoke and whatnot and the Hudson River is so damned pretty and mystical it makes you want to write a sonnet. Then, it gets you musing, makes you into a charming little New-York-City midnight philosopher. This is the kind of thing I write when I can’t sleep:

“There’s something about my city, something about the little people down there and the little people up here and the little people somewhere in between — all of us shit and drink coca-cola. We have Bruce Springsteen records right after Arnold Schoenberg records, because our music collections are alphabetized. We have drinks right after dinner because our meals are alphabetized too — I live halfway up a skyscraper: the NYC version of a dandelion.”

God, my night-time self wants to be Hunter S. Thompson so bad.

I even have a gun-rack in my bedroom, which is also my living room, which is also my bathroom and kitchen.  I’ve never gone hunting in my life, but the guns sure are shiny. I don’t have any bullets, but my neighbor does. I know where he keeps his spare key, too. I have a bowl of water by the windowsill with flower petals floating in it. Guns and flowers, how poetic!

I’ve been having some trouble sleeping. I’ve been able to trace this to a very specific event: Last month I saw one of those flappers, on a ship. The image is tattooed on the inside of my eyelids: She, leaning back against the railing on the deck of the ship, one arm laid gently over the side, one grasping her little hat against the wind, the corners of her mouth tricked slightly up. First thought: she wouldn’t be able to get over my nose. Or my thin hair. Second thought: it’s all about She. Every symphony, every sonnet, every painting, every novel, every film. Every towering play, every note of heavenly music. For this thin frame at the edge of the deck, laughing lightly into the air.

And every artist — pen, marble, brush, piano, whatever — lives and dies for her. To what? To bed her? To hold her, to dance with her, to dip her, to share strawberries, to watch from a distance, to study the freckles up close, to twirl in the mind? To grow wings on the side of the head? Buy a house and have a kid, or to think about her in the shower alone? To plaster onto some other’s face when holding hands at a drive in?

It’s all about her, this wisp of wind, this nothing with short-ish hair and a pointy nose, not five and a half feet tall. Singing under the breath, voice not too great.

She wears life around a finger. She laughs like an open screen door, sighs like a cold cup of tea, and wait —
she’s looking at someone behind the bend of the wall. A man? A woman? A someone-else-but-not-me? Couldn’t be.

She is everything we dream,
A pretty girl.

And here I am, halfway up a hundred-story dandelion, sleeping on the left side of a queen bed.

I would have nightmares if I could only get to sleep.

Maybe I’ll take up painting. Maybe I’ll take up photography. Maybe I’ll takeuparmsagainstaseaoftroublesandbyopposingendthem. Or something.

Before seeing her on the ship I would try to write like Hunter Thompson. After seeing her I’ve been trying to write like F. Scott Fitzgerald.

It’s an improvement, I suppose.

Eric Dovigi writes in Arizona, USA.

Rate this story:
 average 1 stars • 1 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction