By William Davis

    She is asleep again. You’re drunk as usual, playing warhammer III at 1 AM and she has been drifting for a little while now. She lay down about an hour ago, it’s been about half that since you had sex, cleanup took about ten minutes. This wasnt the first time fucking tonight (and depending how things go it might not even be the last) the sensual romance post animalistic desire and lustful compultion, a need to invade and be invaded, be as close as two people can be, has gotten out of our systems, kinda; so this time it was more casual, a lot of ‘I love you’s and eye contact and a true need for one another but your heads were clearer, intellectuals fucking; no longer monkeys banging rocks together but monkeys banging rocks together contemplatively. You were conscious of it all, understanding the meaning in the act beyond the pure pleasure of it. It was as it always is, amazing, but this time we disengaged. Not in a bad way, you have both lived lives as staunch individualists and appreciate your alone time.

    She comes back into the room after cleaning your semen from inside her, a process due to past circumstances, you are intimately familiar with; perhaps she is naked, perhaps not. She is stunning either way. You talk playfully for a while, she is laying on the bed and gets under the covers.


    You continue to talk, attention divided between her and the game. You notice a slur in her voice, not the alcohol slur in your voice, but a sort of drag in her syllables. Bright words dim with sleep like a slowly turning dimmer switch, you wouldn’t notice if you didn’t hang on every tonal shift of her voice. Her responses to your inane chatter slow down and become distant, she is going for a visit to the other side, a little death post petite mort. She’s fading now.


    You keep playing, Karl Franz has finally reclaimed the Reichland and its turn four and you aren’t sure which way to proceed. Marienburg? Kemmler? Von Carstein? Thousands of hours have put you in the decision tens if not hundreds of times and you smile to yourself as you know the outcome of each decision. But the decision is glossed over immediately when a thought unbidden takes over the entirety of your being. You speak:

    “Do you think a nazi’s favorite game show would be ‘the price is reich’?”

    So this will appeal to her on multiple levels, right? First: Nazi puns are totally our thing, no idea why, couples find inside jokes about random things, we found nazi puns. Second:it’s coming out of left field, a risky play against a switch hitter like her (you don’t do sports) but it gets a hole in one more often then putting you in the penalty box. Third: you’re pretty sure you heard her say something about watching the price is right as a kid (maybe it was in her book?) So that’s multiple levels. You say nothing else; come in, say thing, don’t elaborate, wait a beat. Another beat. Another beat. You turn to her.

    A sight you have seen so many times in what feels like an eternity but has in reality been only around a month (a month and a half, depending on where you count from) it’s beautiful, obviously. Eyes closed, mouth hanging open[they tied a handkerchief around cadavers heads in the Victorian era to prevent the jaw from hanging open, they wire the jaws together now, it’s less of a look, for sure] her breathing is calm and soft. You stare until you feel the pull of other things. She would maybe find it creepy the length of time you sit and drink in the delicate curves of her face. You, unlike other people, do not get the convenience of being able to pull up an image in your mind. She is still now, a woman who compulsively fills her time, the consummate overachiever, always moving, in body and mind, a genius, a charismatic genius.

    But now she is still and you drink in for as long as the undiagnosed ADHD will allow you. You kiss her nose, you love her nose way more than you yourself a few short months ago would deem reasonable. You take a glance back at her face, take note of the fact that she is at least partially naked, completely sexy. You smile to yourself and return to your game after pouring another drink. The silence hangs.

    You’ve always been alone. You slept or jerked off or escaped into fantasy (movies, books, games, writing etc) but you learned to deal with it, where you used to sleep your days away now you seldom miss the dawn: a relic of insomnia and the inconveniences of homelessness. Sometimes when the anxiety is low and you can take the silence, you’d sit and watch the sunrise, the changing colors bouncing off the office blocks and construction sites, an inky purple slowly bleeding into pale blues, pinks and subtle oranges, not as spectacular as the sunset but still beautiful. You sit and remember the Tennyson poem ‘Tithonus’ that you studied in A level English Literature. A poem about the Greek hero Tithonus, Lover of Aurora, the poem decries the curse of immortality, reinforcing the importance of death. He wonders, in the poem, if the goddess Aurora knew how cruel the “gift” of immortality was. He would never have the thing he desired most; Aurora, goddess of the dawn, was reborn with the sun every morning. Tithonus, love struck, begged the gods for immortality to be with her forever, escaping death, but forgot to ask for eternal youth. He aged until his limbs couldn’t hold him or move at all. Aurora decided to place him out of sight where he babbled to himself endlessly. In some telling he shrivels into a cicada, screeching for death but remaining immortal.

All for the love of the dawn.

    While you watch the birth of a new day you often think about death. About seeing a new day, how some might call it an achievement. How many nights did you hold a knife up to your throat under your jacket so no light would hit your eyes as you cried for the frustration of knowing you could never do it? The times you swung by the neck from scaffolding, clinging desperately to the vertical supports, unable to let go. So often you would think of hanging yourself or cutting your wrists [across for attention, along for results!] at 3 AM, you came to call it the suicide hour. [Attempted suicide hour would be more appropriate]. By definition, even though you never cut yourself enough to bleed to death, the times you held a blade to your throat actually do count as legitimate attempts; so you have attempted hundreds of times! You feel your limbs begin to shrivel, couldn’t you do more push ups yesterday? You didn’t walk more than five miles today did you? Are you growing weaker? Is age catching up to you? That dawn is so beautiful.

    She sleeps and you miss her. A young you wouldn’t hesitate to impatiently prod her awake. The only time your dad ever swore at you was when you woke him up once from the couch when you wanted him to go to bed, because bed is more comfortable and old people get achy (he was 39, an age not as far away as it used to be on your horizon) He was pissed to be woken (waken?) so abruptly, and admittedly rudely, and told you to fuck off. You cried yourself to sleep. You still carry this with you. You drink and escape into fantasy. It’s 1.30 AM, you feel no desire to go to sleep but know you have to. You take your clothes off and lie next to her. You pull yourself as close to her as you can, she stirs only momentarily. She is away, she is not gone. She is warm, she presses against your body in her sleep, her love of you or your body heat draws her in. You love her desperately. You look out the window and see the flashing warning lights of the crane in perfect parallel with the only visible star that fought its way through New York’s unfathomable light pollution. You awaited the dawn, when the day would begin and you get to wake her up with ice coffee and a bacon egg and cheese from Dunkin and she wont tell you to fuck off and you wont become a cicada and it wont have been a dream. You can see her beautiful brown eyes, her smile you’d die for, you’d  get to hear her voice, croaking and groggy at first but blossoming into the melodic genius she seems to be effortlessly (but she puts in a lot of effort and you should acknowledge that).

You just need to chase the dawn.

A British born unpublished writer living in New York city, William Davis writes mostly creative nonfiction with the intention of publishing a book of essays as a memoir.