My ears still muffled with the dim static sounds left there by an overloud bar band, I curl one hand around a mug of tea and the other around a bottle of ibuprofen. I deftly avoided drinking tonight, but I didn't escape a little misery. My limbs are sore and shaky again; too many aeroplanes, too many people, too much moving, too little rest. My flesh comes up in goosebumps as I shake a couple of pills into my hand and knock them back. I don't go for the thermometer; I know what it will say.
In the darkness, I peel down to knickers and ski socks and a single sheet, trying to let the small snores of the houseguests lead me down into Morpheus's kingdom before the shivers turn to sweat.
It takes ages.
I'm standing in a narrow pool of light -- so narrow that, if I hold my arm in front of me, my fingers disappear into the thick ink of the darkness beyond. There is no movement of air; no sound; no indication of space or time or friendliness.
I hear footsteps.
Swift as a breath, a hand darts in and snags a thread from the bottom of the column of my long, tight dress, brushing my skin where the fabric fits closely to the calf. As soon as the hand appears, it disappears, the thread drawing a taut line between me and absolutely nothing.
The footsteps, and the thread, begin an orbit.
With inexorable slowness, the fabric dissolves into the darkness. When the line hits the softness at the back of my knee, it occurs to me to say something; not a word is returned. When my thigh is exposed to the hollow of my hip, I start to beg. Somehow, my hands can't stop the progress; somehow, my words sink as deeply and meaninglessly into the void as the thread that wends slowly away from my dignity. I whimper when I can feel the stage-lamp heat on my exposed lower back, on the contour of my waist meeting my lower ribs, on one shy nipple, then the other. When the thread breaks its final mooring at the hollow of my throat, I ask why.
My own face emerges from the darkness. My own hand slides into view and grasps my chin, not lovingly. Familiar eyes, tortoiseshell in the fierce light, hook deeply into mine.
“Too many fragments of the spirit have I scattered in these streets, and too many are the children of my longing that walk naked among these hills, and I cannot withdraw from them without a burden and an ache.”
"That you think you weren't already this vulnerable is a farce."
The figure disappears.
The shaft of light coruscates, then dies.
It hurts when you rattle my hinges.
Please rattle my hinges.
It hurts when you push every button.
Please push every button.
It hurts when I feel your fingers in my imagination.
Please keep stirring.
Please beg the question, over and over again: what are you afraid of, that you would open doors with such rabid compulsion but leave just this one shut?