Pills make sleep come early and absolute. Night buries the house in darkness. She lies in her bed and thinks long, wandering thoughts. Her neighbors move through the dim light in the courtyard, talking about work. She listens for a while, secretly thrilled to be eavesdropping.
When she sleeps, she sleeps without dreams. Hours pass without notice. The stars do not bother her and the moon is ignorant of the dangers of morning. When the sun rises, she wakes and lies in her bed, warm and comfortable. She doesn’t want to move, but she cannot sleep anymore.
Coffee and toast fill her belly. She lights a cigarette, the smoke rising in a thin cloud. She stands in the yard staring at the wind. Jays flash blue in the shrubbery. Next door a dog digs at the fence. If it gets out the whole neighborhood will pay for its freedom.
She thinks she might move again this summer. She might find a place in the country, away from the sounds of traffic and neighbors who drink all night, playing their music in the darkness. She thinks she might fall in love, but she doesn’t know when or how.
Men make her nervous and awkward. They make her weak and quiet. They scare her, to be frank. After her last lover left, she said she’d live without their company. She’d be free of their pushing ways. But it’s been a year now and she doesn’t know what to do with herself.
William L. Alton was born November 5, 1969 and started writing in the Eighties while incarcerated in a psychiatric prison. Since then his work has appeared in Main Channel Voices, World Audience and Breadcrumb Scabs among others. In 2010, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has published one book titled Heroes of Silence. He earned his both BA and MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where he continues to live.