Rewrite of I could see the smallest things. R. Carver.
I rolled over in bed and shivered, clutching the sheets that failed to cover my body. He was hogging them, like usual.
I sighed and glanced knowingly at the clock on the bedside table. Its red eyes told me that it was 02:40. Confirming to me that this endless cycle of insomnia that I was trapped in was not simply a dream, the adamant refusal of my mind to switch off or go to standby mode. Instead it was active all night like the blaring screen of the neighbours downstairs TV.
I glanced over at Steven; he was rolled onto his front as if swimming, arms over his head clutching the pillow, legs stuck out into the abyss. Occasionally he would groan, or twitch, moving more of the duvet to his side of the bed. He rolled, exposing a beer belly of paunch. He reminded me of some kind of animal, hiding away from the world. Untrained and uncivilised.
Swinging my legs over the bed I sat up and paused, I did not wish to disturb him; it would be hell if he awoke. I spied my dressing gown draped over the ornamental chair by the door and giving myself a little push start off the bed I stood.
Standing amongst the remains of yesterday’s clothes, I sought some form of underwear amongst the floor and found some pants tucked inside a pair of jeans. Shimmying these on I navigated around to the door and swung the warm fleece of the dressing gown onto my shoulders, tying the belt and withdrawing into its warmth. Instantly feeling better.
The landing was dark and I ran my hand along the wall, counting the doorways as I passed them, one, two, three. Entering the fourth room I pulled the light switch, blinking as the harsh light fixed me in its un-shaded beam.
Gazing at myself in the bathroom mirror I wondered, where have all these years gone? It seemed they were disappearing as fast as the wrinkles on my brow appeared.
The stairs were no problem to stay silent on, being padded with a thick carpet and boarded in on the left side by the high railings. Reaching the last step I touched the banister lightly to steady myself and stepped off onto the wooden floor.
Padding silently across the hall I wished I had thought to include slippers in my attire, the cold wood pressing hard against my feet, I could feel the dirt of the previous days sticking to my bare skin.
Moving through to the kitchen I flicked the light switch, bathing the countertops in a smooth artificial glow of soft lighting. I walked over to a cupboard, flicking the kettle on as I went and pulled a mug from its dark interior.
Sighing again I slumped onto a chair, waiting for the water to bubble and the spout to groan so I could silence its wail before Steven woke. He would come charging down the stairs, just like he had the other night, ranting and spitting in my face. Not something I could do with at the moment.
The kettle rumbled and taking it off the boil I poured a drink, adding a teabag and two spoons of sugar. Longing to feel the cold air to wash away my thoughts I stepped up to the door and unlocked it. Opening with a small groan the door swung inwards. I stepped out.
The garden was never much to look at but I always tried so hard to maintain it. A reducing square of grass, surrounded by flowerbeds took up the main area, with a small patio under the kitchen window where people could sit in summer, but at this time of year nothing would grow, the soil hard and unforgiving.
The moon was out tonight as I stood in the middle of that patch of grass. It must have looked a strange sight a middle aged woman in a dressing gown, with no shoes, simply standing there staring into nothingness, but I didn’t care. There was nobody around anyway.
I sipped my tea and glanced upwards, the moon was bright and staring into its white face made all the stars disappear as if the moon was fighting the stars for space in the sky, fighting for my unwavering gaze. I could see the tiny craters pitted over its surface and imagined men in spacesuits bouncing over its pale shell.
I spun around, shading my eyes and trying to see who was there. As my eyes adjusted I could see Jason from next-door leaning over his side of the fence, watching me curiously.
“ I thought I was the only one awake at this hour” he ventured. Running a hand over his unshaven jaw and lifting a cigarette to his lips.
“I couldn’t sleep” I replied. “ My brain won’t turn off, it keeps me awake at night, I think its insomnia” I could smell the smoke, it tickled my throat, I hated tobacco.
“Could well be” he said quietly exhaling. I moved closer, disliking the smell but fearful of waking Steven.
“Nice night huh, makes me want to stay out here longer, ‘cept for the cold” he mused.
“Yeah the moon is beautiful, it’s defiantly something I could spend hours looking at.” I felt a smile cross my face.
“The way it is so perfect, yet imperfect at the same time, surrounded with mysterious beauty.” I had no idea what I was saying, but it felt right.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right about that”
Jason finished his cigarette and stubbed it against the fence. “ Right that’s it for me, only came out for the smoke, cant do it indoors see. Goodnight”
“Goodnight” I replied and watched him walk away across his perfectly trimmed lawn, gazing at his feet as he left, they were bare. I smiled again.
Returning to the kitchen I noticed the chill in the room, I had left the door open whilst I had been outside. Placing my mug on the counter I retraced my earlier steps. Flicking the light switch off as I exited through the door into the hallway.
I slowly climbed the stairs, rubbing my dirty feet against the dark carpet as I went. I entered the bathroom again, staring at my own reflection in earnest, ‘just another night’ I thought as I pulled the cord, immersing myself in darkness once more.
Feeling my way across the landing I entered the bedroom and walked around to my side of the bed. Steven hadn’t moved. I left my dressing gown on, as I knew reclaiming the covers would wake him and lay down. Looking at the clock again, 03:10. I smiled ‘just another night’ and closed my eyes.