Those first few moments of the day are the best. The seconds where you slip out of sleep and into your conscious life, but before you are quite aware of it; nothing makes sense. Dreams fade behind you and the day slides into focus. Today is Friday. It is February. I have work at 9 a.m. Eric has already left for work; his pillow is on the floor. I need to shower. Eggs for breakfast. I can hear rain.
I’m out of the shower and drying my legs before I remember my dreams, and then I close my eyes tight and try to remember more. Because I can feel something, a shadow on my heart, a pull in my belly, a deep emotion that has no name but that I want to experience more fully. We were in the library. Maybe I was working, or maybe not. But he was there. The man who I’ve only begun to acknowledge and say yes, I know you, and I want to know you better.
He is not my husband. I met him a few weeks ago when he came into the library looking for a book of poems. As soon as his request dropped from his lips, I took a second look at him, his hair dripping, his eyes wild and bright and unnaturally blue. I’ve never been attracted to a man with blue eyes before. But I was attracted to this one. I found him the book and he smiled, said thank you, but it was the eyes that stayed with me. And when he came back, a few days later, we talked about those poems, and I could feel an unusual tightness in my stomach, my face flushing and my words tripping over themselves in an effort to reach his ears.
“I’ve never seen you here before,” he said. “I was in Nicaragua last year,” I say. I swallow the words, “With my husband.” Then he’s gone, and I have my first crush in years. I wait for him every few days, and we exchange a few words, and I feel like I’m seventeen again, wearing mascara and blow-drying my hair on days I feel are likely to be poetic. I tell my (loving) husband about my day, but I leave him out, naturally.
In a way, it feels good to keep something from him.
Who knows where dreams come from? Maybe they come from the same place as the love you never asked to feel, never imagined you’d receive. You wake up one day and there you are, trapped by your own subconscious desires, trying hopelessly to make sense out of them in the daylight. Danger is suddenly lurking in every corner of my day; I am waiting for that shadow and deep emotion to leak into my life and ruin everything. For this reason, I avoid my husband. Even in my dream I could feel his anger.
But I could also feel the thrill of breaking away and doing something out of pure want. I don’t feel guilty; I feel empowered.