The fan is another presence in the room, his spinning rhythmic hum like breath. Sleeping breath, slow and steady and far, so far from me.
I try to match the breathing but I can’t. The farther he falls into sleep, the farther I fall away, until I lie here, eyes open, counting breaths.
It makes no difference that I can still see him, still touch him. In sleep we’re pulled apart. Different minds, different worlds, different beings altogether. The only thing tying us together is breath.
And all I hear is his, the even, spinning, soft and steady whir. Alone asleep in his world, while I’m alone awake in ours. I can’t hear my own breath above his, don’t even know if it’s there. Don’t even know how to find it. I can’t breathe, can’t think, can’t fall asleep with a breath that doesn’t match my own.
I find the rope, I find my grip.
I pull it, pull it tight.
I listen as his breathing slows to a stop.
And I take a breath.