If you have just arrived at The Library in Purgatory, the first chapter is here.

"I never found the girl, I never got rich. Follow me."

~Leonard Cohen

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chapter II.2

The Maiden

ENGL 462


Paper #4

The Rain

The fan is loud again tonight. The casing is loose and rattles in the sticky night air. I can hear someone in the bathroom, probably Jessica, Kim’s suite-mate. Kim stirs as I look up at the clock on the wall, three-thirty, we’re spooning tonight, lying side-by-side facing the same direction, like two spoons snuggled together.

Kim’s the second person I’ve ever fallen in love with, Cathy was the first. It never worked out though, with Cathy I mean, we were just on different time lines. I learned a lot though, mainly what not to do in a relationship. I guess that’s a lot anyway. Sometimes I wonder how I know that I’ve fallen in love. I guess I don’t really, but I know that I have. I love to watch Kim; she’s so child-like in her actions, especially lying here asleep with the moon splashing on her face. I don’t think that she realizes this in herself but then can a person see themselves without a mirror to reflect?

I want to wake her and kiss her, I won’t though. She’s been studying hard and needs her sleep, besides, I wouldn’t want her to think that I was some kind of sex-starved maniac. I caress her cheek instead and brush an unruly blond strand of hair back into place. She sighs and squeezes my hand. Is she awake? I’m afraid to find out so I pretend that I’m asleep.

My arm is getting tired and starting to go numb but I won’t move it, at least not for a while. Right now I feel like the king of the world. There is something about holding a girl in your arms, something that makes you invulnerable. I’m sure it’s the same with babies and little kids, probably the closest thing guys will ever get to the maternal instinct. I think about fighting off hordes of godless savages for a while, it gets pretty gruesome with blood and lots of body parts.

My thoughts are interrupted by a small whimper. Kim is dreaming. If I thought she was having a nightmare I’d wake her but her breathing returns to normal. I worry about her sometimes; her nightmares aren’t limited only to her sleep. She has ghosts that chase and haunt her. I feel helpless ‘cause I know that I can’t protect her from them but I watch her and listen to her and know that soon there’ll be a day when she exorcises them. Her stamina amazes me.

Voices. Someone walking down the hall. I slowly slip back into reality, must of dozed off, I think about last weekend. I had stayed home to type a paper and to study for an exam so Kim had gone out with some friends. She called me about one-thirty in the morning, slightly drunk, to make sure that I was alright. I smile at the ceiling. Alexzander, her stuffed platypus, smiles also. I know that she cares a great deal for me, probably more than any other guy she’s gone out with. It bothers her though when I tell her that I love her. She doesn’t but I can tell. She feels like she should be able to say something similar in return and it annoys her that she can’t. I tried to explain that it was okay, that I was content to have her care about me, to have someone to love, but I don’t think she understands. But, I know that when she does say it she will mean it.

My arm feels like someone is pricking it with a thousand needles. I try to discreetly move it.

“Are you okay?” her voice is thick with sleep.

“Yeah, I just need to move my arm.”

“I was dreaming about you…mmmmmmmm…” she squeezes me affectionately; I bite her shoulder in protest. She has very nice shoulders and collarbones, I like that.

“The damn fan is loud again. It’s hard to sleep.”

“I like it,” I reply, “but I can turn it off if you want,” I quickly add.

“No, that’s alright. It’s too hot.”

She’s falling asleep already. I can tell because her muscles all start twitching as they relax. The funny thing is that she never notices.

The fan drones on soothingly and if you listen long enough it seems to throb. I like the fan; it puts me to sleep, kinda like falling asleep in the car on the way back from your grandparents when you were a little kid.

The breeze feels cool and I cuddle closer to Kim. It finally must be cooling down. I wish it would rain. Kim pushes back a little and I know that she hasn’t fallen completely asleep.

I must have fallen asleep again, I had been dreaming, of thunder in the distance and of rain. I don’t remember the rest. I let my mind wander. I think about the things I have to do tomorrow and whether or not I’ll go my classes, but not for very long. I think about Kim dancing, she’s a very good dancer and is a dance minor. One night we turned all the lights out, lit a couple of candles, and danced together for at least an hour and a half. She wanted to lead and since I figured that she had a little more variety, I was stuck following. I didn’t do too bad considering. It’s my favorite memory.

I can hear some of the birds singing. I’ve been awake most of the night and it makes me feel tired. Classes are definitely out tomorrow. Kim will get up and go to hers, she’s a little more serious about them than I am, then she’ll come back and climb into bed with me for a pre-lunch nap. She’ll still be tired since her sleep was light because of the fan. About one we’ll eat lunch and go do something, tennis maybe, or nomading, or we just might go back to bed and read to each other. Either way I don’t care, it’s the company I’m along for.

I’m starting to doze off again, I can feel it. In the distance I can hear thunder and the smell of rain.


NOTE: This was not in the original Twenty2 the Hard Way.

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