It is enough for me to think of you to fall into a slumber.
I don’t love you. I think I don’t even have any sort of real liking for you. I think I just like the idea of you, the thought of your arms dangled around me and your lips against my ear.
There is a soft pleasure in fantasy—and not the stuff of porn videos or lurid imaginings of pubescent boys. Just the simple, comforting thoughts of falling asleep with my fingers curled, just so, around yours; of having you stroke my legs as you tell me I am lovely; of feeling the warmth of you not-so-far-away from me.
I think of aspects of you, like the unwrapping of a box of confetti-wrapped surprises, and I thrill at the thought of each one—that you smell like pine, that you have broad shoulders, that you like to tell stories, that you are older than me, that you love reading books, that you’re adventurous, that you are wildly successful at what you do, that you poke fun at yourself.
In my thoughts, just before I fall asleep, you are that almost wonderful someone.
The sensible part of me tuts and tells me how silly I’m being. It tells me I’m only setting myself up for disappointment and it rolls its eyes at me for being an indulgent, dreamy, silly little girl.
I respond to it with a little curl of my lip and tell it that I am well aware that these are only day-dreamings like a bedtime story. He doesn’t have to know the stories I’ve magicked up in my head; nobody has to know. If things work out just the way I wish them into being, then I will clap my hands for their happening; and if things never go beyond the pictures in my head, well then, no harm done. Only sweet feelings to go to bed with.
The sensible side of me rolls over and goes to sleep, leaving me to my wide-awake dreams.
I continue to tiptoe in and out of sleep, wafting through intimate thoughts of the most ordinary things I could conjure up between you and me—me making you a cup of tea in the morning, you making me laugh so loudly at a café that all the other tables turn to look at us, me meeting your mother, your arm snugged round my waist. These vignettes comfort and please me more than any bawdy fantasy. They feel more intimate, closer, more real.
I imagine you into a little more into being every night as I go to bed until I almost believe that you really are lying next to me, breathing just loud enough for me to hear and poking me in the ribs just to guffaw at something.
Some nights, I manage to conjure you up in my dreams too and there, it is all passion and lust and sensations so real that I wake up by them.
The dreams are everything I don’t think of when I’m awake because they seem to cheapen the thoughts, make them a little baser than I’d like to think of you. But oh, I must say they’re always delicious and deep and heady and so breathless that when I awake, I have to lie still for some moments, feeling my veins pounding against my skin in their own excited rhythms.
When I catch my breath and consciousness collects back in my eyes, my face, my body, I realize I am thinking of you again—as if my thoughts of you are a seamless movement from falling asleep, to dreaming, to waking. My thoughts settle again on my favorite intimate thoughts of you being as ordinary as you possibly could be—your arms dangled around me and your lips against my ear.
That is when I imagine you to be at your most perfect.
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Editor: Catherine Monkman