When I wake up the dream is still heavy on my skin, drying in the frigid air as I push-off the comforter and then change my mind and burrow back underneath. It’s cold in Halifax as leaves fall from trees and gather in frostbitten piles on the pavement and I dread the thought of getting up and venturing out but I do, anyway. I’m not heartbroken anymore. I’m as healed as I can hope to be for the moment but my subconscious betrays me while I sleep. I close my eyes and fall into the elaborate fiction of memory and desire. On a beach, the sand cool beneath my back. Smooth black rocks back-lit against the navy sky. We find a nest beneath one and remind our bodies, each one of the other. I drink him in with frantic gulps, knowing even in R.E.M that this is stolen time. My mind packs in my favourite details in one punch; beard, blue eyes, tattoo against my cheek, the rare whisper in my hair. All the things I’ve banished from my waking hours crawl in on bent legs and hairy exoskeletons blinking at me with beady eyes as if to say, “you think it’s so easy, to forget?”
I don’t. But, what choice do I have? Each step I take, each building I pass, every moment shared on these streets I offer up in sacrifice. I tie them to balloons with ribbon and let them float into the sun. I reclaim my city, Halifax, the one I ran from in September. It wasn’t a solution and here are all the boxes still packed and the messages blinking on the machine. Leaving did nothing but put off the inevitable and I am facing it slowly and quietly each morning and each night as I unpack the repressed and climb into bed.
I dream of him and wake up clammy, parched, and aching all over—as if I’ve been running marathons in my sleep.