Nocturnal nebulas enclose — do they enclose? — on a queen-sized bed to breathe life into only one of the bodies there. The other remains grasping onto skin, dreaming a vision into the night. It was said two days ago on the roof that lies hollow out the emotional matter of experience. Eventually, there is nothing left. “What are you lying to yourself about?” “Everything.” The question and answer are given right before she, the grasping one, closed her eyes into sleep. The other body with small breasts and a loose belly stirs into the night though her legs are trapped between her lover’s. To the sound of the AC hum, she breathes and when she breathes, she inhales the nebula. Her lover’s eyes were so dry before. Maybe the cosmological cloud is to blame. Either way, the body is awake now. The body must move or else the mind will poison itself. The body undoes itself from her lover’s arms and walks though the apartment. To the kitchen. To the office. She is a silhouette against the luminous New York City backdrop. She is a darkened ghost roaming the hallways of someone else’s home. In front of a computer screen, her hands can’t find the words. She looks to the city for answers. The window appears as if there is rain outside. She looks to her phone to know the weather for she feels her eyes are deceiving her. And surely they are. There is no rain, but in the morning, she finds, the sky will be grey, and she realizes then that in the morning, her lover will be sad — She will once again lose her lover to the weather. Now she wishes she stayed next to that perfect sleeping body, to hold her while she was still there. “Please stay. Please stay. Please stay.” Words she finds hard to say for she knows she would be a hypocrite to ask for such a thing. If only she could have saved that moment on the couch just after dinner, when for the first time in what feels like weeks they made love. She longs for it now. She longed for it even in the moment. How fleeting moments are. She feels it is already so far away. If only - If only - If only. If only, they could both manage to stay awake, not sleeping, not walking ghosts in the day or night, but truly awake long enough to live a life they both desire. Love rests for no one. Longing stops for none of us. The body, awake from the nocturnal nebula, longs for no one but her, the grasping woman. Yet she is just in the other room, dreaming. If only the body could sleep now, to be with her lover in the dream world, but space keeps her awake. Every night, knocking. Every night, suffocating. To tell the story of the night, the details of her or the other woman are unnecessary. Do you feel the nebula? Do you sense its density?
Alana Saab is a writer and multimedia artist, exploring profound relations of love, desperation and confusion: from one person to another, from the psyche to the body, from humans to a higher power. She has studied with spiritual healers and lucid dreamers around the world and currently lives in New York City with her cat and spider plants.