I’m at a restaurant. A tavern. Or maybe it’s a church. No. A cafeteria. A dimly lit cafeteria with stained glass and high ceilings. This place is old school. Smells like a library. An auditorium with endless rows of seating. Creaky pews. A movie theater lobby without the carpeting. Wood floors allow for imaginary echoes. Restless souls roaming the halls. A time traveler’s airport.
I was placed here, to be here. Now. Whenever that is. Wherever it is. People stop and go. They gather in small groups of chatter. Scattered. Muffled. I am anonymous here. I choose to lay low. Fly under the radar. I wish to remain anonymous. Faceless. Nameless. Not caring to spend too much time here. Not caring to get wrapped up in conversations with strangers. Not caring at all. Conversations are investments. And I have nothing left to invest.
I’m drifting. Exhausted. My legs on auto pilot. Restlessly moving to a doorway out of this place. An exit. A passageway. And there it is. Where the ceiling dips. There it is. An entrance to a small room. The sleeping quarters. A bedroom reserved for me. A bedroom with two mattresses. Unkempt and laid out on the floor. They are sloppily pushed together. It’s time to get some sleep. It’s time. Now.
Come on, give in. This’ll do. My mind resists this hazy illusion of a body. Do I have to?
Motor functions slowing down. I get hot and light headed. I wish to remain standing. Fighting the fall. If I lay down, will I ever get up? Did I earn this rest? Dark spots appear before me. Silencing the questions. Blood rushes from my head. My fingertips tingle. Teeny tiny pricks. I’m losing my balance.
Dropping my bags, I lay down and cover myself in a blanket. Hiding in limbo. This place. This space. Between death and rebirth. I’m trapped in stillness. Forgetting how to breathe. Forgetting how to speak. Just what I need. I make peace with it. I have no choice. And now I’m sinking in to the bed. Floating. Feeling light. Feeling safe. Feeling good.
Close your eyes.
And then, a slight disruption to the process. A man is now in the room with me. I’ve worn out all my senses, so I perceive no threat. Comfortably swimming in vulnerability.
I don’t look at him. Keep those eyes shut. Keep relaxing.
This man is no stranger to me. A person I’ve had occasional routine interactions with in passing. Amicable in nature, showing hollow excitement. Followed by friendly shallow conversations. I tend to keep them short because I have no interest in turning the switch from acquaintance to friend.
The nice guy.
He lays down on the mattress next to mine. We’re sharing this space. This experience of rest and transition. But the mattresses are pushed together. So he is unusually close. I’m comfortable under my blanket and have no energy to say a word.
I’m preoccupied. Lost in this long lost feeling. The feeling of being immersed in something. Immersed in a resting state. A state of peace. A state of comfort. This state overpowers my feelings of discomfort. I’m content with where I am. Stuck in stillness.
His body presses against mine. And I remain still. Hoping he’ll interpret my lack of movement as a sign of disinterest and back off. Assuming he’s as good of a body language reader as me. That he knows how to take a hint. That he understands and respects boundaries.
But shit, I didn’t invite you here. Did I forget to close the door?
I’m tired. Exhausted. He puts his mouth on the back of my neck. He’s violating my personal space. But I’ve already drifted in to relaxation. Forgetting he’s there. Lacking the energy to speak. All I feel is a slight tickle on the back of my neck. It turns into sucking. Biting almost. I feel the pressure and it starts to burn.
Ok hold up, this is going to leave a mark.
Now what? I struggle to come up with words. How do I get this man to go away without hurting his feelings? Without jeopardizing our precious acquaintanceship that I value so little.
Fucking nice guys.
I’m paralyzed. I hesitate to speak. My neck is throbbing. I’ve reached my limit. I turn over and say, “I don’t think this should go any further.”
I close my eyes and he’s gone. There is so much I wish I would’ve said had I not held my tongue. Shut it out, go to bed. Get some sleep.
keep listening to your self.
Muffle those voices. Slow the chatter. Allow your self to drift. Don’t let him ruin the process.
but the door’s still open.