She lays her head down, in-between lectures, and you can't help but admire her hair draping across her shoulders, at once elegant and graceless
. She's got these long eye lashes that you are lucky to see from across the lecture hall, because up close you would get lost in them. She is also drooling a little bit. The next lecture has started, and she does not pick up her head. You are laughing at her, and you wish you could let her in on the joke, but that would ruin the fun. Also, you haven't even really talked to her yet, but in your head you are already developing her character
. Quote something she says, describe something she does, interpret those things to your reader, the way you see them. And here you thought you'd quit writing about strange girls
This is the moment in which you decide you want her in your life.
* * *
Insulin spikes will put you down, especially around lunch time. Sandwiches, pasta, and pizza, especially pizza with pineapples on it to add fast-absorbing fructose to the simple carbohydrates of baked flour, this is what will super-charge your blood sugar levels and in the same hour drop it down to a quantity you can barely survive on. You know what, though, it was so worth it.
Back at the library she can't stop yawning.
"Stop yawning," you tell her.
She says this with her eyes closed because she is pretending to fall asleep. You have not opened your lab books yet. And she refuses to open her eyes, which is a shame because they are the most captivating shade of green. She is smiling though, and since she's not looking, you smile, too. The pizza was really good. And you shared a brownie sundae together. She wanted to get two separate orders, but you insisted that you split one. That probably didn't help the blood-sugar crash either. You want to go to sleep, too, but the truth is you couldn't catch a fucking wink with her around, because there are these words that won't stop writing themselves in your mind about her.
* * *
This is a story about sleep, partly. Sleep is how the body recharges (and eating is how it refuels, but that's a different story). Sleep is what you do when you think you're about to make a bad decision - you wake up and you think, wow, that was a really bad idea and I'm glad I didn't do that. Sleep is the friend who never lets you down when you really need to get away from things. Sleep is the time when, for once, you get the girl, and it's the place where good things come to you. You are never truly happy without sleep.
She talks in her sleep, nonsense things most of the time, and sometimes nonsense things that make you wonder. This is a sign of a restless sleeper. She will call her boyfriend in the middle of the night while he's at work, and suddenly say, "Hold on, I have to help a customer." She can never escape the troubles of everyday living. Or she will sleep with her sister when she visits her parents and babble about cabbage and assorted other vegetables. You think those are funny. And once, while with her sister again, she rolls over with a goofy smile on her face and mumbles, "Am I going to get a goodnight kiss?" This is funny, too, but it's also what makes you wonder. This is why you write about her. Because she wasn't talking to her sister; she was talking to the body next to her.
She claims to hate relationships but the way she sleeps says otherwise.
* * *
She, in her words, is pressed for time, you must understand. This is part of her charm: you catch her only in brief, descriptive sentences and three or four lines of dialogue. The time you spend with her is carefully scheduled. During class and lab (where you write page upon page of pointless notes to each other, but you both make an effort to save them; you have roughly half of them in your possession), sometimes in meticulously-timed hour-long study sessions together, or on the occasional forty-minute lunch date. This is the price you pay for being friends with a type A individual. She works 36 hours a week, goes to school full-time, and is involved with a live-in boyfriend. It is not uncommon for her to wake up at 4am, when he leaves for work, so she can make him breakfast. She does not get a lot of sleep, but is still a better morning person than you are.
You wonder what she'd be like if she were less busy.
You write about a more peaceful life for her. A 40 hour work week, maybe not even as a radiographer, maybe as something less stressful, and the rest of the hours are hers and no one else's. Except for maybe a husband, but she supposedly wears the pants in the relationship anyways, so he's mostly irrelevant. She drives the long way home, in her new Mustang. She still keeps a calendar, but instead of "Gary's test," "work 12-6pm," and "radiology club workshop" written under the dates, she has, "massage at 1pm," "make New Year's Eve decorations," and "fancy dinner date with hubby at 8pm." With the last one, she draws a candle and roses. She gets 8 hours of sleep a night, and during 4 of those hours her brain is in a predominantly delta-wave state. Here is what brings a smile to your face, but also makes you a little sad: she stops sleep-talking. You wish you could change this part, but she's still a morning person.
But that is all fantasy. And since we've established that, you write yourself into her life, some small role, just enough so that you can watch her grow content with a slower life and catch up with her at lunch (no longer hurried because she has to get to work). And so that you can write some sort of epilogue while it happens.
* * *
This is the sad part. You're already talking about what it will be like when you are no longer friends with her. You've made various promises together that may or may not come to fruition about that. If things go bad for some reason, maybe you piss her off one time too many, push the wrong button, if she decides she doesn't need to be friends with you, you will tell her where to find this place where you write. And she will hand custody of her half of the copious pages of notes you've exchanged during lecture over to you (except she said she'd throw them at you, pretty green eyes flashing at you in anger). You both say that you'll write end-of-friendship stories (even though she doesn't write), bitter and angry and hurt. Yours would be the best thing you'd ever write in your entire life. Hers would break your heart. You'd read to the last punctuation mark, anyway.
But you have a favorite thought. It all works out. Everyone is happy, one way or another. The end.
You go to sleep. You dream.