Sleep is an ocean. I woke, I am awake, and standing on a ribbon of sand that has emerged from the expanse of blue nothingness. I do not remember this place or how I was stranded here. For a moment it seems that I am the only person anywhere. I could wade back in if the waters did not threaten to retreat from me whenever I tried to do so. I am here, stranded, an island.
Memories are the past. If I have no memories would that mean that I also have no past? I think, therefore I am. If I think, I have memories. It’s just that I cannot recall them now. I cannot recall anything beyond this small strip of being. Then there is a vague sound pushing through. It is a sharp but rounded incursion that feigns and fades. And then it comes again. I count them as if steadying myself against that which they are heralding.
And now my senses are pulling up from the slow slumber of the water and the world becomes clearer. I am no longer standing on a spit of sand lost in the world of sea, but am on a bed, in a room, presumably in a house. And there is someone beside me.
My hand wants to reach out to touch this new revelation. My thoughts caution against it. My ears listen from a safe distance whilst my eyes focus for movement. I tense, ready to flee. The night watches.
There is no danger. Whoever is beside me is deep in the place from which I have left. If I cause too much of a commotion, they will wake and I would be a thief of their time. I would be the one who dared to snatch a creature from the deep, drop it stunned and wriggling on the certainty of stinging sand, and watch it drown in air. I am no such being. Still the temptation is enough, so I slowly extract myself from beneath the covers.
Night has its own reason. It takes away its opposition. It thrusts complacency into shadow and makes us ghost walk through what we thought we already knew. My walk inched along the bed, touched its finality and reached for the wall; much further away than expected.
Rooms have doors. I thanked my my resurrected memory for that. Doors have handles. Handles have water music. I swiped my hands across the blankness that was space in an effort to locate my escape. A noise bubbled up from behind me and I sensed its creator’s movement. I needed to be faster.
I was aware of this place and, as soon as realising this, my hand struck upon the handle. The thing in the bed muttered a cushioned half sentence, rolled over and was still. I needed no more of an invitation to leave.
With the door now closing behind me, I inched along. A frail light was emerging from beneath another room. It was teasing itself out through the spaces left around the frame. And the whisper of water was singing out from beyond. If I could only turn that handle and push in and through to that room, my sleep would be answered.
Something in there stopped and waited. It waited. We waited together. And the sleeper continued drifting in the wastes of morning tides.