What Came Next

Until the sunrise

(The bracelet that you built hides you from sight, permits you to pass through solid objects, and is otherwise irrelevant to what you did

that night, as you ghosted through the lobby past the husky security guards and the locked doors, up all those flights of stairs until you reached the top floor, the penthouse suite, continued through the foyer and the grand living room illuminated by the moonlight, ghastly and still, further on to the bedroom where he slept alone.)

It was stunning. You were stunned. You watched this boorish, hateful, dangerously stupid man sleep in his bed and found the long-held venom draining from your heart.

To see a person sleeping is to see them disarmed of their identity, if only for an instant. In sleep, we are stripped of our smug affectations, of the violence of our actions, of our gnawing desires. Our anxious eye-tics and goofy grins disappear. Our titles, our roles, our memberships, all the parts we play are eclipsed by this biological inevitability. Our story is dismantled. We watch a person sleep and see them as they were, as they’ve always been: a raw, unformed thing. They could have been a gentle, chatty computer salesman in Cincinnati. They could have owned a deli and coached softball in Spokane. They could have been a sweaty trial lawyer in Queens. Squint, and see the prismatic cascade of everything they could be, could have been.

You watch them until the sun rises, dreaming.