4 am. The alarm went off. It did not bother her as much as it startled her. She had been up for some time now. She couldn’t make sense of what she had heard. But it was loud enough to deprive her of two hours’ worth sleep.
She rolled over. His eyes were fixed on hers.
“I’m sorry! ‘Woke you up didn’t I?” She lovingly ran her fingers through his locks and stroked his face. She planted a peck on his nose before she got off the bed.
His eyes followed her as she walked towards a hillock of clothes that were meant to go to laundry few days ago. She dug out a sweater, sniffed it and put it on.
“You feeling cold?”
He startled her.
“Gah! It’s chilly”
“Mornings can be chilly. Come here you”
He watched her walk to him. She didn’t fit in the sweater. She never fitted in any of her sweaters. They were intentionally oversized.
He sat up as she slid under the blanket. She was small. He could tell she had begun to feel smaller.
“I talked in my sleep again. Didn’t I?”
She just smiled.
“How long have you been up for?”
“Didn’t write anything?”
“Nah, I was still hoping that I’d get some sleep”
He held her tight as if she needed some protection. She quietly stared into the space.
The alarm went off to startle her. Her head struck his chin as she struggled to get out of his arms. But before she could even apologize her eyes fell on the clock.
5 am. She didn’t realize when or how she dozed off.
“ Oh! Fuck. I wasted a whole hour”
As she tried to hurry off the bed, she stumbled. Even in that dimly lit room she embodied profound chaos. He was a sorted human being and had never believed that chaos could be remotely beautiful until he met her. It was difficult to separate chaos from her. It was also difficult to not love her.
“I love you”
“You said something?”
“I said, I’ll make you some tea, you work on the book”
He knew the words hit her ears but he couldn’t tell if she heard. She was distracted. Or rather focused on what she was meant to do.
She had been writing for the last ten years. But, she was not a writer. Her works were not recognized. She was not recognized. She held a day job to make a living because words did not pay her bills. She had stopped calling herself a writer after hearing “oh, how come I have never heard of you” umpteen times from umpteen people.
Last year she finally bagged herself a column- in an eccentric weekly paper with a limited readership. He was not one of her very few fans. He couldn’t even begin to love the way she wrote. He knew why she was not recognized. Out of the forty eight columns she wrote in the last one year, he had barely read five from top to bottom in one sitting. Maybe he knew her too well to find her words intriguing, maybe she really did suck at what she did.
He watched her as she blew her cheeks out at the screen. In fourteen months of their togetherness he had understood what that meant. She was not happy with what she wrote. It also meant that she would be upset all day long if she failed to make it better. Sometimes he wished it was easier on her. Sometimes he wished she knew she can do better- at other things.
“Her words are not even half as intriguing as she is, she should give up writing” he often said to his friends but he never dared say that to her. He loved her too much.
He had to tell her though. He had to tell her how the publishers were willing to publish the work already. She didn’t have to sacrifice her sleep every day to work on it.
The sleep-talking for three continuous nights was a sign. He couldn’t keep it inside him. But what would he say to her. How would he say to her?
The publishers were willing to publish her book. Only, he was the soul of the book. Only, the words were his and not hers.