Midnight Dreamer

IMG_20170522_054502Awake. Again. At midnight.

Tears cover my pillow. I wipe my nose, not daring to sniff in fear of waking someone.

Why don’t you like me? I’m fifteen. Shouldn’t I have a boyfriend by now?

But the trumpet player doesn’t like me that way. Instead, he looks right past me. His gaze falls on my friends. Their perfect hair, perfect skin, and perfect breasts are as far from me as can be. I’m so cool, though. He tells me so. I play games with him, watch movies, talk about all the things he likes. It’s gotta be the way I look – my acne-riddled face, my big nose, my tiny mouth, and my ridiculously small boobs. That’s why no guy wants me, least of all him.

I close my eyes.

Across a crowded room, he enters.

His blue eyes search and fall on me.

His mouth widens in a smile.

Ignoring all else, he comes to me.

“Hey.” “Hey.” We say.

He leans in.

Noses touch.

Lips touch.

*****

Awake. Again. At midnight.

My pillow and mattress are damp with sweat. I stare at the ceiling as rivers trickle down from my eyes to my ears.

Why do I like him? I’m eighteen. I’m running out of time to find a boyfriend.

But just as before, the theatre major doesn’t look at me that way. His hazel eyes graze mine. He’s the first boy to look at me, not through me. We talk and laugh while we work. The days go by so much quicker when he’s there. But he’s not available. His girlfriend frequently shows up to brighten his day. I hate that I wish they would break up.

His head is on my lap.

I run my fingers through his hair.

We pretend to watch TV. But…

We are content to stare at each other.

His hazel eyes hold all the secrets.

*****

Awake. Again. At midnight.

My pillow is over my head, stifling what would be a full-on sob by now.

Why doesn’t he love me? I’m 22. I’m out of time to find a boyfriend.

But just as every time before, the roommate doesn’t look at me that way. His brown eyes are closed in the room next to mine – closed to me. He looks above me, scared to meet my gaze. We talk, we laugh, we play games together and watch movies together. On the days that he’s happy, everything is awesome. But on the days he’s not, all the weed in the world won’t help me forget.

He’s available. He doesn’t look at my girlfriends. He must like me. Why doesn’t he like me like that?

Black lingerie on, I step down the stairs.

His eyes fall on me.

Without words, he says, “Come here.”

I don’t.

I lay down on the couch.

Show him my curves.

He doesn’t wait long.

He crosses the room.

*****

Awake. Again. At midnight.

My neck pillow is no help. Tears of joy stream down my face as I stare at the tiny monitor in the seat in front of me and watch Mrs. Henderson Presents.

Why does he love me? I’m 25. I thought I didn’t need a boyfriend anymore.

But I found him. He found me.

His blue eyes stare back at me through a webcam. He talks to me, never at me, and for hours, we discuss everything from our day to our past and future.

I’m nervous excited about finally meeting him in person. In a few hours, I will start my life with him.

It only took ten years to have a partner. I hope I don’t screw it up.

No dream tonight.

In fact, I never have to dream again.

 

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17 thoughts on “Midnight Dreamer

    1. I second Kay’s comment on the consistency on the structure – similar but not exactly the same to reflect the difference at each age.
      I also have to say that I felt very uncomfortable reading this. I could recognize myself as a teen – never having a boyfriend, thinking I would always be alone, not understanding what was wrong with me (beyond the obvious fat & ugly).
      I’m so happy you found a partner. He was worth waiting for, right?

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  1. What I would tell myself at 16 and 21…. You hooked me with “I’m so cool though. He told me so.” It perfectly captured the confusion we feel in those situations. The structure of this piece worked well for me. I like the way you gave a realistic snapshot, and contrasted it with the dream. There were a few little things that threw me (so little). One was the part about fearing waking someone. I didn’t understand who you were afraid of waking. And then in the second section, the part about sweat soaking the mattress. It felt like it foreshadowed a fearful memory.

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    1. Thanks so much for your fantastic feedback! I was trying to show without saying it that in those moments I felt detached from those around me and that by the time I was 18, I had stepped up from crying to full on panic attacks. If I ever edit this piece, I will definitely try to show that better. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved the structure to this piece Mel. I can also emphasis with a lot of it, although I do agree with Stacie that 25 still seems really young. This was a strong piece and I really enjoyed reading it. So glad you shared it x

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