Sweet Images of Her

My love returns in dreams.  As I drift off to sleep she appears by my bedside and climbs in, her warm body curling up next to mine, her breath sweet and warm and comforting on my neck and face.  We embrace and kiss but then I awake and she’s gone, and once again loneliness crushes in around me.

I lie there thinking of her, wishing I could forget so that I might sleep.  But the cogs and wheels of my mind once aroused drive away all drowsiness.  If only I could cry or forget she ever existed, then perhaps — just perhaps — I’d be able to sleep.  But my emotions are drained and my heart feels hard. 

I toss and turn and try to blank my mind but the machinery has other plans.  Minutes tick into hours and darkness slowly turns to light.  I see a thin strip of brightness on the wall above the curtain, then slowly the room takes shape.  I can now make out the lampshade hanging from the ceiling, the shadowy ornaments on the bedroom cupboards.  I close my eyes and think of my love with her thick, dark hair and sparkling green eyes.  My heart races, pounds in my chest and wakens me.  The night than flees like a frightened spider beneath the door, leaving me alone with the dawn and my thoughts.  “Just give me one hour — a half, then.”  But the gears churn relentlessly on, driving the last precious vestige of sleep from my mind.

I rise from my bed, walk slowly towards the window and part the curtains.  The garden stretches out below, a desolate winter’s scene of bare trees and heavy frost.  The pond is frozen, the dark ice imprisoning everything under its hard surface.  My attention is drawn to a sparrow as it alights on a flat rock, its head tilting from side to side as it searches for food.  Finding nothing it flits off through the cold air and disappears into the shrubbery.  I hunger like the small bird but can never be satisfied, only by gazing into my love’s eyes, bright and clear as gems.  For a brief moment I lapse into a dream-like trance, my mind spirited away and leaving this empty shell behind. 

The time has come to face the day, the unbearable rituals of life.  In an effort to control myself, I grip my head between the palms of my hands and squeeze but the oiled pistons are already thrusting within their cylinders, the cogs turning uncompromising within my mind.

I turn from the window, the ornamental garden with its sad, naked trees, the frozen lake, the cold frosted plants and hungry birds.  Tears well up and glaze my aching eyes but I am numb and cannot cry, so I tread the carpeted floor slowly back toward my bed.  The incessant humming of machinery remains, permeating my mind with an endless, discordant sound.  There seems to be no respite from this awful despair.  Only through sleep am I able to slip away from this bleak and lonely world.

There is but one true escape.  The needle of death slips readily under my skin and into my vein, and how easily the plunger slides.  My eyes close at last and I float high above the bed, joining hands with my love, sweet images of her in my final breathing moment.