Friday, July 8, 2016

Free Fiction: Conference Call Insomnia

Jamison flopped onto his left side. He breathed three times and switched positions. He curled up on his right side. His arm was trapped beneath him, going numb even within a few seconds.

Jamison shoved the covers off and reached for the light switch. Yellow light filled the room and Jamison made a quick trip to the bathroom. Then he came back to bed, turned off the lights, and pulled the blankets back over him.

Usually the bed was warm--already warmed up by Lance's presence--but not tonight. Lance had flown out to Philly for a conference and would be gone for three full days and nights. Attending the conference would be great for Lance, but Jamison hadn't realized how miserable it would make him.

Jamison shivered, even though he had two comforters on the bed. He crawled out again, turned the lights back on, and dug out a third blanket from the closet and spread it over the bed. Jamison also traded his boxers for an old, soft pair of sweatpants, and pulled out a long-sleeve t-shirt from Lance's drawer. Lance wore a size larger than Jamison did, so the shirt hung loose, but it wrapped comfortingly around Jamison. He crawled back into bed. Off went the lights.

Then he tossed and turned some more.

It was too quiet. Lance didn't snore, but he did make consistent breathing sounds. Jamison was used to that constant in and out.

Jamison shrugged the blankets off yet again, flicked on the lights, and pulled the cord to make the ceiling fan turn on. Then he turned off the light, but left the fan on, and got back into bed.

The sheets were cool, but would warm in a minute, and the breeze brushed across Jamison's face. It wasn't exactly what he wanted, which was Lance in the bed, but it would have to do.

Jamison piled pillows behind his head and propped himself up. He closed his eyes and tried to find that quiet spot inside his head that would allow him to sleep.

It remained elusive.

After staring into the darkness for untold minutes, Jamison considered his options. He could go downstairs and sleep on the couch. He could raid the kitchen and come back with a full stomach. He could rummage in the medicine cabinet and try to find a sleep aid. There was always alcohol. Taking a shot of something would help settle him down.

As he contemplated, his cell phone buzzed so quietly that if he'd been asleep, he'd have missed the call. Jamison reached for it.

"Jamie," said Lance.

"You called," Jamison said.

"I thought you'd be asleep by now," said Lance. "I was going to leave a voice mail for you to find in the morning."

"I'm having a little trouble falling asleep." Jamison didn't mention that it had been nearly two years since they'd had to sleep apart, but it was foremost in his mind. He'd grown accustomed to draping himself next to Lance, and to have the bed so empty was nearly painful.

Lance sounded sheepish. "Yeah. Me too. Just missing you."

"We have unlimited minutes," Jamison said. "We could just leave the line open, and sleep like that."

"I like that." The sound of movement came over the phone and when Lance spoke again he was muffled. "I've put the phone next to me."

Jamison did the same. He closed his eyes. "Good night." He could hear Lance's breathing and it felt like a balm to frazzled nerves.

"Good night, Jamie."

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