I wake up to darkness. Blank with no light at all. I feel my way towards the window to see if I can make out any light. Nothing. It is a moonless night. It is beginning to get cold, and I feel a rush of the draft upon my skin coming from the opening between the window and the sill. That window has never closed right. Need to address that tomorrow. The condensation is moist and cold on the panes of glass. I realize my cheek is wet from resting it against the window. I close the drapes and feel them wrap around my body. The built up grime from my cigarettes on the drapes leaves an oily dusty film on my fingers. My first instinct is to wash them, but I fear not finding my way to the bathroom. I grope my way towards the bed and sit down; the quilt is freezing cold, the slippery cotton sateen more suited to the summer heat. Goosebumps break out on my legs, and I feel the hair stand on end on my arms. I lay down next to my cat just to be close to some warmth. I run my fingers through his thick fur, the density of it gives me comfort. As he breathes, his fur moves and increases the sumptuousness of it. I wish I could wrap him around my body to chase away this chill. He is too small, so I wrap myself around him instead.
I hesitate to get inside the sheets, but I still do. I must just sleep out this power outage until morning. No sense in staying awake in the dark. I feel something move past me. I think? No, that was just the draft I tell myself. Now I will worry. I am just about to fall asleep when I hear a sound out in the living room. Don’t do this to me now! I cannot go out there. I can’t. But I guess I have to. I find my robe that I had left on the chair and slowly move down the hall using my fingertips to navigate where I am. I sense the molding to the bathroom door when I see a flash in the living room beyond. I freeze. Quietly, I continue further; my bare feet gripping the rough floor boards tensely. I reach the living room. The openness of the space scares me. Now where did the flash come from? It is so dark, and my eyes have not even adjusted to it. It is that bad. I wrap my arms around my body as if to give myself some protection from the unknown beyond. Still feeling my way forward with my feet, I reach the turkish carpet. It’s roughness gives me some apprehension. Without seeing the carpet, its merit decreases. It becomes just a mat on the ground to protect the floor.
Just then, I am covered by a presence encircling me. I cannot move, but feel the breath of this person on my face. They begin to caress me: my waist, then my hips. I attempt to scream, but my efforts are met with a male “shhh” and a “don’t worry”. I am strangely comforted by these words. I am lifted up as if weightless and lie down on the sofa. I don’t wish to scream any more. I am met with warm hands on my feet, massaging them and giving me sensations that I have never felt before. I relinquish my will to this strange man. I don’t stop to think where he came from. Strangely, no. Do I wonder how he came to be in my living room? The door was locked after all. No, I don’t. His effect on me is so strong to overcome my reasoning capacity.
He begins to remove my robe. His fingers are rough and a little hardened. His touch is insistent, yet soft and reassuring. He causes no pain at all, no reason to resist or even to wish him to stop. He lights his cigarette, but I am unable to see his face in the glow. This must have been the flash. He turns away as he does it. So far, I only know him through his touch. I am able to reason through all of this, but not the fact that I am being intimate with a stranger who has entered my house through a locked door. I do remember locking it. I even checked it twice. I remember how it felt in my hand vividly. He touches my chapped lips with his fingertips. He seems to want to memorize me with his hands. Now, my eyebrows. He exhales smoke into the air above me. He picks up my own hands and places them on his face. I begin to touch it. I start with his jawline. It is strong and roughly stubbled. I move to his eyelids. He closes them to allow me to feel them. I move my fingertips around the sockets, attempting to visualize him or at least get a sense of his bone structure. I feel a sense of urgency come over me. I know somehow that I need to feel his hair to get a sense of who he is. It is rather short and seems to be combed back off of his forehead. It has some kind of pomade feel to it. A little creamy to the touch, and it stays on my hands. His hair is still soft though, not coarse, and I continue to comb through it, luxuriating in it, feeling more content as I do.He climbs onto the couch with me and positions himself against the back. I am impelled to curl up against him to get warmer, but I stop myself. He wraps his own arms around my waist and rubs my back lightly. He seems to be my height or close to it. Our feet line up, and he doesn’t seem to need to bend his legs to fit. I rest my body against his without hesitation. He is not thin, or his body would not feel so right to me. No angry bones getting in the way. Nothing sharp to annoy me and cause me pain. Just softness and warmth. I curl my arms against my chest and nuzzle my body against his. In a few moments time, I shut my eyes and fall asleep, darkness and fear forgotten. This was the blanket I was looking for all along; his warmth that which had always been missing from me.
This is a companion piece to this story here.