I watch Mary sleeping on the couch. I can’t take my eyes off her for a single second. I go blank, and then watch her all weird, and then go blank. I don’t know why. I become conscious of a vacuum cleaner in my right hand. “I feel like if you put your mouth on her big toe, you could excuse it as an accident if she wakes up.” I look at the vacuum cleaner. “I don’t think that would be ideal.” “Maybe if you put it over the toe, but didn’t touch it.” Outside it is sunny, a real sunny day. I look at Mary and think about what it’d be like to hit her on the head with a feather pillow but I go blank. I am listening to I don’t know what, the outside world, all these birds. All around me in that room, nothing seems to happen. I move towards her. I try really hard not to wake her up as I move. I don’t know how but my foot moves just the right amount. Mary is sleeping. I feel like it is really hard to take time and cut it into little pieces but I want so badly to cut it and really cut it open flush. I move a table a few inches to the center of the room. I move the floor lamp away from the couch too. I want to empty the room. My aim is to put everything aside, to have a moment with Mary without all the stuff cluttering our lives. But I get tired quickly. I sit on the day bed across from her, evaluate its capacity to support me, calculate its size in relation to the length of the hall. The vacuum cleaner remains upright and unplugged. The curtains behind Mary hang all the way down to the floor. “What are you doing?”
I don’t know how to answer Mary’s question. I feel awkward sitting there. So, I stand. Then I feel awkward standing there. So, I sit. Mary takes up her blanket. She goes to her room. When the door closes, I rotate my shoulder, move my arm in exact increments, very precisely, repeat the exact same movement again and again, and ask myself, “What am I doing?” and almost without noticing it, I go blank.