It's 3:15 am.
The sheet is twisted tight around my ankles. The blanket is bunched up around my waist.
I'm too hot. I adjust the covers and roll over. I stick a foot out to catch the cool wind blowing from my fan. And pull it back in when it becomes too cold. Flip over to the other side. My mattress feels like plywood. The furnace kicks on. I hear tinkering in the pipes. My dog wakes up and licks my face. Now I have to pee. I throw the covers off, take care of my business, and re-adjust myself back under the covers.
They feel too heavy. Something isn't right.
Now I'm remembering the conversation from earlier today--or late yesterday, I'm not sure.
I'm remembering a conversation about an incident that happened years earlier. I'm remembering the wounding words spoken to me from the lips of a trusted friend. Feeling unsafe and vulnerable, I pull the covers up to my ears. Perhaps I can block out the voices.
Perhaps I can will myself to sleep amidst the lies.
Someone has walked into my room. He stands above me with a smirk of satisfaction. His presence is comforting to me. I know he has come to bring my midnight meal. And I am hungry. I roll over to face him and let him spoon-feed me. Bite after bite. My tired body surrendering to this sustenance.
The poison settles into my brain. I am high with lethargy. Paralysis.
With each bite he whispers. And rubs my forehead.
Oh what a beautiful mess you are. How well you have believed the lies.
Oh the extent of your wounds. You are damaged beyond repair. You are truly hopeless.
Just as I want you.
Remember the lies now. You are worthless. You are the problem. You are the source of pain.
Shush now. Don't squirm. Doesn't that feel familiar? Doesn't that feel right?
Take another bite, my love. That's a good girl. You ruin everything. You wound everyone.
I look into his black eyes. He is so beautiful. Such a constant companion. But his meal is making me ill. I am feeling nauseous. What is wrong with me that I can no longer keep it down?
What does it say about me that I am ready to heave?
Somehow, I have become insensitive to his food.
I am sick.
I push past him running to the restroom. He looks after me with contempt and worry.
I'm sorry, I say. I can not contain it. I have a craving for something pure. Water.
For the first time, I see anger flash in the darkness. And he is gone.
Tonight, I have lost my friend. Our friendship is dying. He will be back, this I know.
In the night, he will come with new tastes and new delicacies. But tonight I drink water.
And tonight I need sleep.