Horizontally awake

We bought nice mugs from the lady down the road who opened the new store who thought we were a nice couple. We befriended the nice lady immediately.

All day long since I left our house I have not been able to unmind the mugs that contain our tea so ideally, as if the mugs at forty percent off were made for us.

Sometimes I’ll pour the contents too quickly down my oesophagus, inadvertently scolding myself. You marvel at the pace of it all. I tell you how I want to take tea in the new mugs slowly, with indifference to what comes next. These things take time, you reply.

There are poppies on the duvet, sad ones not happy. Brown stains wound some of the poppies; brown stains from the mugs that came before the nice ones.

I’m drinking out of one of the new mugs with the lights off – listening to cars breaking and speeding up. I can’t check the time or where you are because I’m already thinking too much and the hot tea is swelling the thoughts and making them uncomfy in my head.

I wonder what we should do with the old ones, the old mugs. My stomach is bending and I realize I need to wee my bladder empty. I do this. But the bending continues and I contemplate crackers underneath cheese.

The new mug is empty now, so I lie myself down to chase sleep. I am a naked runner and not equipped to do this on my own. I salute my index and middle digits and rub friction into my crouch until I forget everything else.

Half conscious I think I hear someone taking two steps at a time, five times. You are wearing your baggy-baggy pants, the ones that don you the millennial Eminem. Your bladder is the fullest one I’ve ever listened to.

There is no sound but that of your smelly urine being taken away followed by the heavy denim of the baggy pants thumping the ground. Even though they haven’t, I let you know your baggy pants have woken me up. It’s pitch black and I can make out every limber muscle and concave of your body. It’s like good tea.

You run your hands around me and I am leatherwood honey in boiling water. Colgate and rooibos were probably never meant to amalgamate but I pass you the nice mug because nothing could ever go that wrong.

You don’t take long. Passing me comfort in a cup you tell me that today you realized our new mugs, the ones we bought from the nice lady who thought we were a nice couple at the end of the street that belongs to us, are the same brand as the tacky mugs you use at work. Now you don’t care for the new mugs much.

I sink and fall into the wounded poppy pillowcase. For a moment I think your revelation has poisoned the contents of my nice mug, but then remember I massaged Colgate into my teeth already. I roll onto my side; the side that puts my back to you to watch the contents of the nice mug become lukewarm. You are snoring by the time the world is cold.

Harriet Donegan is a twenty-two-year-old student at RMIT. She studies words; they give her great comfort. She is a gin drinker; with her left hand, she explores the body and the world that permeates the body. She swims laps in Melbourne’s fifty-meter outdoor basins, one day she would like to drive around Australia to swim them all. 

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