A Dream Upon Waking

I hand you a coat.

It’s vintage, I say. It’s from a thrift store. You know, the one that used to be on my block when I lived uptown? We must have gone in there together, you and me. We must have at least looked at books.

It’s New York City but it’s not. It’s me and it’s you but it’s not.

I hand you the coat. You turn away.

I throw the coat at you. You walk away.

We’re in a hotel somewhere I’ll later know as just west of Murray Hill. It’s turned cold and the hallways throw shadows up and down your spine and the slow movements of your jaw.

This jaw, the unchewing gum of it all.

No, no you do not want the jacket.

I understand.

You rip the jacket in half, and dried up leaves flake from it.

You always did like leaves, you remind me, and then soft-shoe out the door.

Take the jacket, I cry, and I’m screaming and I’m sobbing, and I’m kicking and I’m hitting my fists against the sheetrock.

You’re pathetic, you say. You are almost laughing.

No—take the jacket. Take it and I won’t be. My fists are slamming against drywall and specks flurry off into my hair and my eyelashes.

You’re dreaming about me. It’s pathetic.


Look at you.

I am. I am looking at me.

You’re still dreaming about me after all of this. Wake up! Look at you!

Take the jacket first.

Wake up first.

Okay. I will, I say. I will.

So I wake first. And you and your jacket boil up into a big, rolling ball of subconscious vapor.

And it is, it really is, even sadder than you or I remember.


One response to “A Dream Upon Waking

  1. Oh, it is sad, but beautifully written.

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