I am exhausted, but cannot sleep. My brain and body unite to fight my heart on this, tempting me with monstrous yawns and aching muscles and repeated glances at my digital clock which helpfully counts down the seconds to another drowsy, sleep-deprived day.
There is nothing wrong with me. I have ten fingers, ten toes, twenty-twenty vision (with glasses), two arms, two legs, one heart. Everything is fine, just fine, except for the unfortunate fact that I have been cleaved in two.
Sometimes I am able to trick my mind into focusing on something else. I forget this little truth, misplace the memory of being pulled in half. Keep busy, rage against the stupidity of others and myself, stare at the television until my eyes glaze over. Repeat until numb.
But when the sun disappears and the noises of life subside under heavy blankets and the clicks of setting alarm clocks, I am overwhelmed by the inordinate loudness of an empty apartment and remember the jagged edge of myself.
Two pennies stuck together with years of grime, ripped apart. That is you and me.
My friends say this is for the best. My sister says she never liked you anyway. My therapist says to move on, clean house. Get rid of the grime.
But I miss the grime. I collect little pieces of it, hold them near to my chest when they surface—bottle caps and ticket stubs and photographs worn around the edges, an unsharpened pencil from the battleship museum gift shop.
Did you hear me? Are you listening?
I miss the grime.