It’s nearly time.
The sun slipping below the horizon, the last of the golden hour quietly retreating from her performance as the curtain of night softly falls.
Collectively they stand, milling around a desolate landscape, in silence.
Only the quiet shuffle of feet, the occasional clearing of throats, a small cough, here and there.
And then it begins. One by one, each person slowly dropping to the ground.
Some sit for a while, while others immediately recline.
A stubborn few remain standing, but you can see their stance begin to waver.
By the light of a yellow moon rising higher and higher in the sky, I can see the silhouettes begin to thin.
Soon there will be a carpet of bodies, supine, littering the ground with only their soft rhythmic breath to break the nights hush.
But for me, there will be no peace.
No bliss of rest, no escape into that other world where tangled thoughts at last fall limp, slowly unwinding themselves from the knots that torment and tease.
I remain standing. Always. The last one standing.
The eternal walk, my task.
I resent their small little whimpered sounds as dreams take them to other beautiful,surreal worlds.
I’m jealous of their twitches and sighs.
Irritated, even angered by the snoring.
I kick one of the snorers, hard.
He grunts and turns over and is quiet…for now.
I’m walking amongst them like a lone wolf among sheep, choosing the weakest-the vulnerable, the anxious. Those who need my intrusion least.
Soft lumps on the dirt, fingers and hands that I tread upon, but make no apology.
I bend and peer down closely into the face of a woman.
Her soft mouth falls open, jaw slack,and a tiny stream of drool is beginning to form.
I shove dirt in her mouth and she immediately gags. A coughing fit ensues and she turns over onto her side falling silent again.
An old man is making sputtering sounds between snores.
It’s disgusting. He disgusts me.
I pinch his nostrils closed and put my hand over his mouth.
Within seconds his body begins to twitch,little tiny twitches.
I wait…and wait…
He is jerking hard now.
Then I let go and he inhales sharply and deeply, as though surfacing from the depths of a suffocating ocean.
Around and around I walk, for hours amongst the fallen.
It’s tedious and time is distorted.
It drags as though I am walking through mud.
Over and over I bend or crouch to tickle their noses with my hair.
Whispering loudly into ears – their names and they jolt awake disoriented, for a mere moment.
I will upon them ice and fire, and make their skins crawl with imaginary unscratchable itches.
I sit upon their chests and peer into their stupid resting faces, willing them to open their eyes! Some do, in terror.
I kick and shove and pay no mind to standing on limbs that eventually seize up with a thousand tiny pricks, making even the deepest of the sleepers groan out loud.
I poke with sticks,put rocks beneath their ears and stones under their backs.
They toss and turn and I laugh out loud and go find more rocks.
I walk, endlessly among their dreams, disturbing them, shaking them, interrupting this intermission that they so deeply crave and need.
That *I* crave.
Their oblivion is not mine.
My envy is deep.