Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Motel By The Highway

I lay in bed, completely unable to sleep. I am kept awake by two things, the first being an over abundance of light. My motel room overlooks a busy highway, and the headlights of cars spill into the room. The kitch Australiana on the wallpaper is briefly illuminated and then vanishes, eucalypt motifs and rural scenes dissappearing into the void from whence they came. I'm a light sleeper, so the constant oscillation between states is more than enough to keep me in the realm of consciousness.
But there is also a second factor. Over the noise from the highway, I can hear her sobbing. She cries every night, and has for the last year. It happened one night when she came home from work, and is yet to cease. We've discussed it, and even fought over it to no avail. It was as if some unknown stimuli opened a vast emotional floodgate, and perhaps the turbulent waters will never subside. What provoked it will remain eternally unknown, but it seems to be an expression of past failures and present discontent-both merging into a grey, themeless emotional performance.
She didn't seem to yearn for comfort either-quite the opposite. She was tense in my embrace, and certainly didn't want sex. I often wondered whether she wanted a partner at all. It seemed that I was fulfilling a role that any man could-a desire for human presence. To her, I was merely another of the routines and practices that people blanket themselves in to distract themselves from the emotional burdens of life. I was like the blue glow of a TV screen in a darkened loungeroom, or the inane chatter of FM radio in peak hour traffic.
At first it made me deeply depressed, and for a time I even resented her for it. But now I seem to exist in limbo between emotional categories. I still hear her crying-it fills every neuron of my waking thought, but it completely fails to rouse any sort of emotional response. I am a passive conduit for her anguish.
She stops and comes to lie down on the bed; near me but not beside me. I take several deep breaths and turn to face her, words of comfort on the tip of my tongue-but she is already asleep. Her face, even though blotchy and swollen from crying, is still beautiful. It fades in and out of vision, illuminated by the light from the highway.

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