Claret, asprin and mistletoe by Terry Cummings

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It was that moment you had when waking some mornings. Not those mornings where you have drunk too much the night before and feel as though your eyes are too sensitive to open. This was the moment from the mornings where you have woken just before the alarm has gone off, and your skin is the same heat as your blanket and the air around you, and your breathing is just too perfect to want to change. That moment where you have to concentrate to realise that you are no longer asleep and you find yourself looking around the room wandering where the person you dreamt about has gone. The momentary calmness followed by realisation, consciousness flowing in on confusion. Perhaps this was similar to the feeling of being born.

My room is darker now compared to before. The light seems to have been pulled from it, taken away with the retreated sun. I imagine my pupils expanded to absorb some scarce trace of ambience, opened wider, betraying inner realms and depths to the darkness. Places inside, secretly crying for light. Fluid shadows lay flat in far corners of my eyes, taken it seems, from the edges of the room, where they have taken form and found substance. I watch as shadows crawl across my wall, scored behind by dark, light creeping slowly with time aged purpose and intent. Soon to have walked its path, leaving my room to lay spent for now in the ink pools that lay beyond, shimmering and hidden, trembling at the known caress of dawn.

Sometimes her hair would glisten captured sunlight. There was applied expression of freedom in its length, in its form, colour, texture and shape and sometimes it would simply swim in the breeze. Sometimes, sleeping it would suffocate me, but it was always welcome suffocation of the type which brought about greater rest than it disturbed. In the mornings it would conceal her until she awoke and her fingers pulled the tormenting strands away from her face. And always then she would smile. Sometimes I would watch her as she slept and wonder what dreams came to her in the night. At times I would whisper close to her ear hoping that the sound of my voice would persuade her to dream of me. But Ill never know if she did.

Swallowed and felled. The breath that draws back and forth across my lips does so with increasing reluctance. It is riddled with effort which if released would cause all movement to stop. Thought keeps the air in circulation and keeps me alive and I wonder how much of a mind is owed to the simple process in these breaths. What other tiny, precious thoughts have been pushed aside. Maybe all fear has been released to allow room for the processing of this action. How cool the air, how slight the breeze. How dry my lips, how arid my mind. Formulated response tempers my very existence, response which lies in wait of the inevitable. Portent and calm. There is an animosity in my lungs as they prepare to breath their last.

The echoes of the noises are perhaps what I am finding hardest to ignore. There in trembling hands I held an avalanche of sound for what seemed an eternity, subsiding far slower than I would have really thought possible.

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