Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Brown (11/26/09)
TITLE: Between Drops
By Jennifer Galey
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I lie here in the dark pretending not to know. Yet it drips, replenishing as quickly as it drops.
I could handle a steady gush, enough to burst through the pipes. Such a soothing sound it would be, like a hypnotic lull, ushering in sleep. It would drown out everything else. Cascade like a waterfall and spit at my wounds to stop the bleeding.
Then there would be something I could do. Some reason to fix it.
Crisis could pick up motivation like a colicky child, demanding attention. It would be enough. Enough to make my feet float through the waters like two resplendent boats.
The sludge would slosh through the rooms, saturating the dry places. I can picture it—filling the cold crevices, pushing through the walls with the elasticity of warm wax. Colors would collide, churn together until they seeped through borders like a water-colored painting. Greens would drain into yellow, tangle with red until all that remained was a murky brown.
That would be too easy.
The drips of water have syncopated with my heartbeat. Maybe vice versa. It’s hard to tell the origin of things these days...or nights. It’s all such a blur.
My thoughts, a faithful slave to rationalization, have presented a sensual smorgasbord of sound identification.
Plink. Plop. Splink. Sloop. Drip. Droop. Drop.
I can’t complain though. Even an annoyance is welcome if it succeeds in distracting. I circulate the onomatopoeias through my mind like numbered sheep. Yet thoughts of you have drizzled in between the drops.
I hear your voice—beckoning me to fix it. Sometimes humbly, sometimes not so humbly.
I would lie to you with simple logic that I did not think about it until we were already in bed. Try to convince you that it was too late, and fixing it now would only wake the neighbors.
You saw right through it.
Looking back, I see the mischievous glimmer in your eye as you tossed me the rolled up brown paper bag. Predicting with certainty that a glob of mayonnaise would squeeze through my bologna sandwich and kiss my mustache. You had the advantage of making my lunches, slicing off chance with an extra smear of mayonnaise.
I grabbed the napkin, just as you had planned. Your request glared like a billboard, to remind me.
I’ve lost count of the brown paper bags I wadded up, discarded like days.
I wait for the next drip.
It echoes louder than the one before. So many things I would have done. Showered you with roses…and chocolates. Not the ones clearanced out after Valentine’s Day, either. I would have them shipped in straight from Belgium. Tossed out (or eaten) the ones with coconut, and presented them to you in a golden box. Gazed in your hazel eyes—shades as countless as the stars—amber, burnt sienna, mahogany.
But like a hierarchy of regrets, these can only follow the most basic ones. The faucet taps as an incessant prompt. Reminding me that even roses must be grounded in soil.
So many things I would have done. Things that should have been a habit—like breathing. Fixed the leaky faucet. Blown the brown leaves off the driveway. Poured an extra cup of coffee so I could take in a few more sips of your smile.
Reality has leaked through the cracks of my memory. Stirring me back to my present conundrum. I try not to move. Allow torture to run its course. Wait for misery to rise like a mist.
And then for a split second you are there. Not in my dreams. Even my dreams have been tainted with reality.
It’s only for a split second—tearing down the fence that divides sanity and sleep. And suddenly, I am gliding between drops. My heart is glued together by the gauze that mends the nights and days.
Then I remember why I have not fixed it.
Reminded of how a moment can drench the pain. Feel your presence braid throughout me like wooly bubbles through my toes. Reach for you.
Your smile curls around me on this wakeful wisp of sleep.
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