Break it Down I

“.. it really keeps going on while you’re asleep, though you’re probably dreaming about something else, a building, maybe. I kept dreaming, every night, almost, about this building, because I would spend a lot of every morning in this old stone building and when I closed my eyes I would see these cool spaces and have this peace inside me, I would see the bricks of the floor and the stone arches and the space, the emptiness between, like a kind of dark frame around what I could see beyond, a garden, and this space was like stone too because of the coolness of it and the gray shadow, that kind of luminous shade, that was glowing with the light of the sun falling beyond the arches, and there was also the great height of the ceiling, all this was in my mind all the time though I didn’t know it until I closed my eyes, I’m asleep and I’m not dreaming about her but she’s lying next to me and I wake up enough times in the night to remember she’s there, and notice, say, once she was lying on her back but now she’s curled around me, I look at her closed eyes, I want to kiss her eyelids, I want to feel that soft skin under my lips, but I don’t want to disturb her, I don’t want to see her frown as though in her sleep she has forgotten who I am and feels just that something is bothering her and so I just look at her and hold on to it all, these times when I’m watching over her sleep and she’s next to me and isn’t away from me the way she will be later, I want to stay awake all night just to go on feeling that, but I can’t, I fall asleep again, though I’m sleeping lightly, still trying to hold on to it…”

Excerpt from Lydia Davis’ Break it Down (1986) 

Clarkes, Heroines (1999)
Heroines, Lincoln Clarkes (1999)

 

II

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