Voices rising... falling, cars passing, gates latching. Whirring ceiling fan breezes, the television's blue flicker, buttons on a remote that fingers have memorized, the soft flannel of the duvet and cotton, the most threadbare, allowed to touch the skin, I'm curled, curved, arched on one side.
The softest knit of the gentle, cream, "yard-sale" blanket (another skin), five pillows and sheet, and my head, the heaviest part placed on its side.
The house, the room, the bed, the sounds, the breeze, the familiar, the peace of the calm, allowed in, past the blue Japanese slippers ready and in place facing tomorrow, nearer now.
No need to inventory the day gone by (I wouldn't be in this state of the order of things if I were not prepared to release today into the past) and tomorrow knows what it will need.
At 50, my body luxuriates in this float and my mind knows this is far better than passion. It is the passion.
I prepare these things and swallow an orange Zerit and three yellow Sustivas and smile because the label warns of fantastical dreams, a side effect I cherish.
It is a night drug and Sustiva dreams are the places I go, as the knitted coverlet comes up to my smiling chin and the fifth pillow between my aging, bony knees, well padded and tendered and all's ready for the hypnogogic weight of lids.
Even my ears have lids it seems as sound and flickering blue sights become the last thing I see.
Alone, I am ready...
...not like the curve my body made when my lover's body complemented the arch, though, even then, the last move was a curve away from his so that trance-like sleep with dreams became my own, uninterrupted by the beating and breathing of a lover's limp body out of the rhythmic sync with my own.
Nightly, I prepare for this trip, traveling through places and faces and solving the unresolved, making the night as seamless as I am able.
I do all this for my excursions by night into fanciful flight which will bring me back tomorrow but only when tomorrow has become today.
Don Scotti, a member of AIDS Project Los Angeles' Writers Workshop, recently read his work at an appearance in Culver City.