Voyeur

I loved to watch her sleep.

Such a sweet, peaceful look on her face. They say even the guilty look innocent while sleeping, with an expression that’s near angelic in its serenity. Having never seen an angel, I don’t suppose I could verify the truth of that claim, but I’m damned sure that there wasn’t anything more serene than the way her lashes didn’t even flicker, her mouth didn’t quirk.

Slow, steady breathing, a rhythm that only the body knows, having picked it up somewhere along the way in its forming. In and out, in and out, the heart drumming along, the lungs humming in complement, the body still and resting, half curled, half sprawled, tangled in sheets and holding to the pillow.

I tried convincing them it was when she was most natural, in that state, in that way, but they don’t make caskets wide enough for such a pose. I tried to tell them she wouldn’t be able to rest, wouldn’t be able to be peaceful on her back, arms folded, chin lifted. Who sleeps like that?

When they say “He looks just like he’s sleeping,” who the fuck do they think they’re kidding? No one sleeps like that, except Boris Karloff in bad movies. No one sleeps like that, except vampires and fanboy goth kids. No one sleeps like that; it’s just what you’re saying so you don’t climb in there, weeping or screaming. It’s just what you tell yourself so you can touch them without howling like the sun’s gone out.

No one looks like that, sleeping. I tried to tell them she wouldn’t be able to rest. I should know; I spent so much time watching her as she lay so utterly still, eyes closed, lips almost smiling. Almost. She wasn’t serene, and she didn’t look innocent or peaceful.

They put her in the ground that way, composed. Contrived. Nothing angelic about the way they were going to cover her with dirt. Suffocate that steady rhythm, the heart that kept time with mine. Nothing peaceful.

No one looks like that, sleeping.

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