I think I lose people every time I wake up.
Sometimes people ask me if I am a morning person, and I am quick to assure them that I am not. The rest I keep to myself. It is a strange thing to explain.
Here is what I do not tell them: the night haunts me with melancholic whimsy. Daytime plucks me away from the middle of a task; the details of my dream fast fading, leaving only the knowledge that something needed to be done, someone needed to be saved, and I had not the time to complete it.
I wonder if they—wherever they exist—wish for my return on every falling star.
I lay in bed, sleepy-eyed and heavy, left with a faint impression of emotions that no longer fit in place. Desires no longer clear. Lives no longer lived. I have been many things, most of which I no longer recall.
The early hours hold a strange loss for people and places that I have loved and forgot. Perhaps that is why the words morning and mourning feel the same on my tongue. Bones and muscle remember what my memory does not.
Sometimes, I manage to hold on to a moment before it fades. It gleams in my hands like a fragment of stained glass; beautiful, but missing its context, its story. Still, I gather them, like a collection of seashells empty of their inhibitors. They hold memories only I could possibly know.
I wonder about the people I knew when I was asleep.
Perhaps I will cross paths with them again, in another place, another time. I might still see them, even if I do not recognize their face. Even if I do not remember the connection we once had. I do not think they are forever gone. Perhaps they will reappear in poetry, in games of make-believe, in the little stories I tell. They could be in every imaginary friend that has grabbed my hand promising adventure.
What if they broke through to find me, their heart pounding inside a cage of bones at the sound of my surprised voice, perhaps swallowing against a lump in their throat as I say ‘Oh, hello love. Have we met?’
What if . . . I never really lose them?