Rainer

Rainer, I turn over in the night, wake to the dull gloaming of dawn — a duck egg inside of which I lay with a numb arm (they say it’s fallen asleep). A light glows from outside, throwing pale blue all round the room, while pins and needles carve up my limbs, and the mournful seagulls moan like dinosaurs outside. Rainer, I’m inside the egg. What about you? Is it you holding a light to the surface of the shell, casting shadows on the mornings? You who put the lumps in my bed? You who put the sound of airless laughter in the voice of birds? Is it you who made the radio silent, pondering the six o’clock news and whether it’s important enough to turn on and tell me? Is it important enough?

I get out of bed, Rainer, and notice the grumbling of cars and lorries, early-rising people on their way to whatever it is they do. One morning is no different than another — but for each person shifting hours in this pool of half-light, the morning is broken into pieces — and to each their own.

To each their own — did you understand that all too well, Rainer? Did you find yourself with a shard of morning, sharp and broken like a little protest, glinting in the half-light in your palms? Maybe that did it. Maybe the jagged edge cut you — maybe your hands formed a network of scars, telephone wires zig-zagging, a map showing the way from one morning to the next, a network of duck eggs, isolate, electric, like a soft fleshy thing cocooned in a bedroom at dawn, its face lit by a sickly glowing pool that reflects what happens outside.

And outside, all the while, was the morning, pale but unbroken, where flying dinosaurs screech with the ecstasy of flight, and lorrie-drivers whistle between deliveries, and children sleep, dreaming of the internet, and the blood comes flooding back into my arms like a riot of pins and needles, an unbearable reminder of how long one part of myself lay buried under the unconscious rest of me — cut off, and then suddenly awake. Pins and needles, Rainer, that make moving and sitting equally unbearable. An absence that is painfully present.

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