In the mornings, I see a face. I’m neither awake nor asleep. It’s that in between, where the shadows of subconscious can still take hold, but your mind is aware enough to pull you back – reminding you, Hey. The day is waiting for you, but in my case, it’s a face that awaits me.
The face is both a blur and an itch. I squint my eyes, but only find that it twists it more. I open them wider and I lose sight of the face altogether. It’s maddening, and I have half the mind to just grab the man and shake him.
It was the first time I ever referred to it as a gender. Him. Yes, that’s right. It is usually a man.
“And you said it was an itch?”
“Tell me more about the itch.”
Well, it’s not good or bad. It’s kind of just there. Not an itch I can scratch, either. It’s like a reminder that face brings – like something imprinted on my brain that I’m supposed to know or be able to remember, but I just can’t. It’s just as maddening as the blurry man.
“Tell me more about the man.”
You’re a demanding bloke, aren’t you?
“Well, that’s what you pay me for, isn’t it Mrs. Noble?”
I thought we’d be talking about my mum or something a bit more shrink-like. I didn’t realize dreams were a part of that.
“Now, Mrs. Noble-”
Yeah, yeah, you’re here to help me. I don’t need to hear it anymore. Let’s just get a move on. Now, what was your question?
The man? The man, yes, and see, that’s another thing. I’ll remember him for one second, then I’ll forget him the next. It’s like two different parts of me are fighting over this guy – one to forget and one to remember.
“Which one do you want to win?”
“Which are you rooting for? Do you want to remember him, or don’t you?”
I- I don’t know. I suppose I would like to, but-
Hang on. Hang on. I’m getting there, you impatient bugger. But there’s something about him. I feel like he’s dangerous, but it’s almost attractive the way he is. His danger is attractive. I reach out to him sometimes, and I feel my fingers brush against his jacket. He smiles at me sometimes.
“I thought you said he was a blur?”
Huh? Oh. Well, I guess he isn’t always a blur.
I don’t know. I’m getting a headache. Maybe we should stop for the day.
“You know your mother is outside.”
Nevermind. We can keep going, and you can stop smiling. You look daft when you smile.
“Nevermind that Mrs. Noble. On you go.”
Right, well, sometimes he’s not just a face either. He smiles and I can hear a laugh, and sometimes he reaches out for me. But there’s something sad about his smile. He’s a very sad man.
“You feel sorry for him?”
Yes. He is so lonely. He just wants someone to travel with, to be his pal, but it’s too dangerous. Things are always happening to him and to his friends. He’d rather be alone than risk their lives.
“You sound like you know him.”
Huh? Well, I guess I would have to know him. He’s in my head after all.
“Yes. Well, you speak of him as if he actually exists.”
How do you know he doesn’t exist?
“I don’t, I’m just asking-”
How do you know the sun will rise tomorrow?
“Mrs. Noble, there’s no need to get upset-”
How do you know the Earth will always move?
“Mrs. Noble, please don’t raise your voice-”
How do you know there isn’t something out there? Someone calling for help? Just waiting to be saved?
“Mrs. Noble, please calm-”
How do you know that blue box won’t come back?
“Here are some tissues. Please don’t cry.”
“Are you ok?”
“Do you want to talk anymore? About the man?”
No… no. I think I know who I’m rooting for now.
… Maybe it is best that I forget him.
The man cries when he smiles. Do all doctors do that?
“Is your man a doctor?”
… I think so.
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