I'm looking at my wife's naked back in amazement. She's asleep. The baby breathes next to her. Early morning darkness smokes our bedroom window. The sheets moonwrinkled. Air cold through the screen. I've read somewhere that the motion of molecules is tempered by cold and quickened by heat. We shouldn't have left the window open all night. The baby's nose already choked with snot. My head upon waking filled with grit. But the chill has suppressed all the little motion normally in the room. Feet under the warm bubble of the covers, afraid to move. No hiss of skin against the sheets. My wife's breath is slow. A coin of light slides up and down on her shoulder with the breathing. I wonder if her flesh under the sliding light is warmed by the glow. I suddenly want my lips there.
I lean over and pull the sheets back up to her shoulder. The light is stuffed with cloth. Time to get ready for work.
There is something wrong with me today. The shower did not cleanse the grit from my eyes or head. A slow thing camps inside me, swells. It's as if warm balloons inflate in my forearms, weigh each motion with a nervous dread. I don't have enough time to get sick. Not allowed!
A hot baseball of ache already between my shoulders. Only 10:50am. I try to stretch it out, move it around. All the motion and clumsy writhing does is oval the ache for a bit, but that's a relief. I settle back down. Fine then. I'll get headaches that behave the same way. My wife fails to understand why thumping my head with a book spine (something weighty: Pynchon, Gaddis, Vollman, any of the Latin authors) helps.
"It changes the quality of the pain," I tell her.
So really then, it's boredom that bothers me. A pain that doesn't change or alter itself in some way is a harder burden to yoke than the one that provides variation. That baseball of ache in my shoulders is easier to take if it is sometimes a phone cord, or a mouse, or even a piercing staple. I just want it to change. I need my sentences to do the same thing to the dreary ephemera life tosses up. This is not anything more than anyone else desires. We all need a coin of light slipping along a shoulder blade now and then.