There were times I couldn’t sleep and I would end up with the radio playing softly while my feet padded on the kitchen tiles. I would dance with an invisible stranger on those yellow tiles and the small space would be an entire dance floor. The tiredness would leave my bones while my arms were raised and poised and I would close my eyes as if it came naturally.
My shadow would display my movements and sometimes I would dress up that shadow and make up someone completely different. A princess, a farm girl, a lady in waiting. The brain can be funny without much sleep.
I would only dance at midnight, though. Once the morning would roll around I would sit on the counter with a glass of wine and try to figure out my thoughts. There was so much clutter in my head that it was hard to organize and more often than not I wouldn’t figure anything out at all. The better days I could be asleep by three. The worst, I wouldn’t sleep at all.
Those nights would lead to interesting days; usually I’d continue my little fantasies. Often it would leave me wondering about this life, and the previous, and the next. I wondered if this life was what I wanted. I never achieved an answer and it usually left an unpleasant taste in my mouth that worried me.
When this girl moved in, she would join me on my sleepless nights. The first night found her a little awkward but when I carried on with my ghost, she found her own and we danced in the florescent lighting in the small kitchen. We would sit on opposite counters with our wine in our hands and talk in quiet voices like we might wake someone if we were too loud. I found it was better than being alone in my own thoughts and often we would giggle like mad over nothing. We became good friends quickly.
One of those nights I told her to show me something different and we danced together. She spun me and I spun her and it was fun to see the world around us become a blurry mess. I leaned my head against a cabinet and watched her legs swing soundlessly above the floor. We talked about life then, and leaving.
She said she wasn’t built for leaving, but she didn’t seem to fit anywhere, either. I told her I think I hadn’t found a home. She nodded her head and poured more wine in our glasses.
There was a time when she would confide in me she was too scared to leave and I told her she needed someone to follow, someone to give her courage. I think that was when I started thinking about what to do with the money I was putting away. Maybe I would be that person. I could find my own courage and set us both free.
I left at the end of winter for something better. We had phone calls in between my long drives and I told her where I had gone and where the next place would be. She left in the middle of spring and thanked me for being her courage. We hung up and to the deadline buzzing softly, I thanked her for reminding me there was a door.