Intimate Instructions


Last night I felt the room shake.  I was sleeping and it just shook, or I was just sleeping.  You must not have felt it because you didn't open your eyes.  In the dark I thought you were dead.  I thought: what would happen if you died.  I couldn't think of much else, until I remembered this other time when someone broke in.  I woke up and I went to the window (this was when I lived alone again) and I imagined.  This person, all those things were there. This person broke in.  It reminded me of when I slept with this other person and we shared things.  Our house was filled with them.  We weren't "living together," but we lived together.

The things with her came with instructions. There were instructions everywhere with her.  On.  No movies about death or mothers.  In.  Nighttime is for reading.  Off.  The signs were abundant.  But without them it was boring.  And it took them the longest to disappear despite their absence.

Then, one night this person, that at the time had three names (professional, social and intimate) lost the other two in an emergency.  There was an accident.  It robbed her of her mother.  After that, I'd try calling her by the other two names, or other things, new things she might have been called before, but she kept missing her.  I-know-it-must-be-difficult was broken, not working, in repairs.  Then like that I realized that everything had been destroyed in this emergency.

Last night, when I was sure the room shook again, I thought of waking you up to tell you about emergency, but I didn't want to alarm you, so I thought to write it down.  I tried to go back to sleep.  I stayed wondering.  It made me realize.  That wouldn't be enough.  It must have ripped, or I lost it, or it's stuck somewhere you can't see it.

Then two years later I felt things for this person breaking in.  Clearly I had been damaged.  They weren't anything important in the end.  Things were going back to where they had been in the first place.  We were fine with that: the intruder and I.  Things went missing.

There was no furniture.  Why was it so hard for us at first? I wondered.  We should have done it a long time ago.  It left me feelings for the trespasser.  They were for bettering me.  I was getting better.  I tried to be over coincidence.  Not from heartbreak, but from all the empty places like the bathrooms and the dining room and the vestibule.  I guess things were getting bare.  They weren't any better.  It only got better when you broke into me and replaced all those things.

I hope you understand that in my sleep, in that earthquake, in all those things, I thought most to save you, from knowing, how this wasn't the first time.  This was clearly another emergency.  So I wrote it all down.  Then I dreamt about you and an earthquake.  We were moving.  

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