Overs, a Story

Overs, a story
Lying side by side in bed, we have an unspoken connection, Elaine and I. In this moment, when we are supposed to be in that most singular and secret world of sleep, we are closer than ever. If there is a time or a space for forgetting or forgiving, for rebuilding and renewing – and Lord knows how we need such time and space – it is now.

It is a lover’s game, to fake sleep.

To discuss it would be to disrupt it and would of course see its end. It is certainly too fragile to dissect, it would most likely fade between our fingertips before we had done any more than touch it, or if we did carefully pull it apart it would never fit together again.

Her lips may break into a smile if she isn’t careful, the urge to laugh might come hurrying up and out of her throat. Her eyelids might flutter open if she doesn’t resist, but they must not be closed too tightly – the muscles will tense and the illusion will be lost. Her breathing must be unembarrassed, occasionally loud and unashamedly snotty and her body must be as heavy as sleep itself.

Elaine is an expert player and I, her eager partner.

‘Are you awake?’ I lean in and whisper, placing a hand on the warm of her hip. She must answer ‘no’ without saying a word.

Tonight, she says yes, and quickly turns her body to face mine, ‘What’s the matter?’

‘Nothing,’ I answer, ‘Nothing at all.’

Paul Cunliffe | Spring 2004