“I didn’t even want to have this conversation. Now I’m done,” I said and flipped over on my side, promptly silencing him with the sudden chill my back radiated.
In my mind I imagined putting a pillow over his face and stopping his breath until he admitted I was right and he was a jerk. Though all the while, I wished he would turn over and hug me to his broad chest and whisper he loved me.
Only the fan’s soft whirring made a sound in the dark room as I clenched my eyes shut and took a deep, silent breath, and willed myself not to cry. He would make fun of me if I did.
My hopes faded as I heard his even breath. How is it he can sleep and I’m stuck here with a knot in my chest and a lump in my throat? But after awhile even I fall asleep, only to wake momentarily when he turns and his arm brushes mine. His touch, while it torments me, soothes me, and I sleep.
They say dreams are the door to our subconscious and bring meaning to our everyday lives, and sleep is merely the vehicle to what we truly desire and need.
Funny that harsh words and a rift between two bodies larger than an ocean can be eradicated in sleep. His arm reaches out in the early morning hours, and I don’t think about the fact that we went to bed mad, instead I know what I want, my true love’s arms wrapped around me, and mine wrapped around him. Anger and space have no place in sleep. Only the tender, most vulnerable pieces of yourself exist. In sleep, two lovers unite. With the sun comes reality. But in the soft, cool hours of dawn, the world is perfectly in tune.
The world is cold when I wake. Not the soothing freshness of morning nor the sweltering heat that can sometimes come with passion, anger and fire in the sky. This world is cold. Jagged. But I don’t shiver as I shake a Parliament Light from its package and press the recessed filter to my lips.
I let the cold winter sun hit my naked body and I look out into the new and tiresome day. I flick the lighter and shudder as the heat warms my chilled nose and icy lips while I light my cigarette. The warmth affects me as much as making an unexpected friend does. For a moment I realize I miss it. The cold is my only friend these days.
I glance back at the empty bed, and take a deep drag from the cigarette. The smoke is like the grey clouds in the sky, dreary and lifeless.
I rather like my friend the cold, and I dismiss the sudden need for warmth until the craving is gone. Reality comes with waking.
Will I be too late?
This question haunts me as I struggle to create time so that I can work on my novel — to finally finish. It has been seven years since the original seed of an idea started to grow in my imagination, slowly being transferred from my head onto paper. And even as the finish line grows closer, I nervously type in a race to beat the progression of technology. Will I be too late? By the time I’m done will I be banished to an e-reader existence? Will all the book stores be barred as print grows less relevant?
I know that this worry is probably a bit premature. Although as more consumers buy e-readers they also buy more ebooks (at a much cheaper price), books are not disappearing quite yet. And hell, I don’t even know if I’ll get published. But the thing is, I love books. I don’t just love reading stories from them, I love the feel of them, the history, the whole concept. I can flip to the last page easily if I want and sneak a glance at the ending, or read the blurb on the back of the book as many times as I want. With a book in my hand, I’m me. And in my vision, which includes getting my book published, there is a space on my bookshelves designated for my very own work of written art, or so I hope. So I am irrationally anxious to complete my novel before time runs out and books are relegated to the true lovers and collectors.
I once refused to even touch an e-reader, afraid that if I succumbed it would mean one less person supporting printed books. But with so many self-published authors publishing to e-readers, I felt it wasn’t fair to the authors, nor to myself; I could be missing out on something truly worthy. So my new policy is I only read e-books if they haven’t been published to print.
But I still worry irrationally about the viability of print and so continue to work toward that perfect story ending. And I’m hoping by December my rough draft will finally be complete. On that day, I will feel so much closer to seeing my dream realized and beating the imminent digitization of literature.
K.M. Randall writes fantasy and paranormal for both a general and young adult audience. Her debut novel, an epic fantasy called Fractured Dream, launched in June 2014, and her second book, The Reaper's Daughter, launched May 2015. Randall also published Fairytale Lost, a prequel to Fractured Dream, as an exclusive on Wattpad. She blogs about dreams, female heroines, and activism and its relevancy to the literary and fictional world. And when in the season, sometimes she just likes to talk about Halloween. She is currently hard at work on the second book in the Dreamer Saga series, Shattered World.