Distant Presence

I wonder if she hears me rifling about in her dream? Probably not. We’re both fast asleep and many miles apart. But if there’s anything to the occult, she might sense my presence as I pull back the covers and watch her nightgown gently rise and fall with her slow, rhythmic breathing. And she might feel me stroke her shoulders and her neck…though probably not. We’re both dreaming, after all. And, as I said, we’re distant; miles apart. This is not real, not in the physical sense. Yet I am only an arm’s reach away from her. I see and touch her across distance. In the same way, she knows how very close she is to me.

We’re having the same wishful, wistful dream. She wants to caress me as much as I want to caress her. Synchronicity is the reason I feel her presence so much of the time. We both want the same things at the same time. It’s a metaphysical thing. But very physical, too.

If I listen, as I sleep, I can hear her breathing. I can feel her urgency as she stands near my bed, wanting desperately to join me in my cocoon. But she dare not. Her husband would hear her rustle and my wife would feel the presence of another woman in the room. And, of course, neither of us could control our vocal acknowledgement and appreciation of flesh upon flesh.

I said she probably wouldn’t hear me rifling about in her dream, didn’t I? I wonder whether I believe that or… I wonder whether we both feel such a deep emotional and physical desire that we risk erupting in unbridled passion at any moment? Even now, as our spouses sleep soundly next to us, are we in danger of an explosive revelation of our indescribably powerful sensual magnetism?


Day breaks, prying loose the vice-like grips of magnetic lust. Morning rips at me as if I were a tiny, newborn lamb and it were a ravenously hungry wolf.  I disappear in shreds down the gullet of the day, consumed as a pitiful stand-in for raw energy.

I keep my distance from last night’s dreams, if that’s what they were. More likely they were delusional fantasies, fed by recollections of my time in the Second World War. I spent months in Africa, defending humankind against God knows what. It was there I met Lisa and broke every vow I’d ever made. But that wasn’t me, was it? I wasn’t even born during the Second World War. Yet I remember clearly the brutality of battle. The horror of losing friends to grenades and bullets and shrapnel is etched into my brain so deeply nothing can remove the images from my mind.

These are the components of madness. These experiences across time and distance shred my brain into fibers so thin and fragile I cannot imagine ever healing, no matter how much medicine I apply. These experiences are unquestionably real, but they are no more than my imagination, damaged and let loose by alcohol and muscle memory. I flit between the blood-soaked sands of Africa and Lisa’s bedroom, crossing massive amounts of time and distance in the time it takes to inhale the odor of state cigarette smoke and the stench of urine. I can’t stand this! If I weren’t tied to the four posts of this institutional bed I would scratch my eyes out!


By the time the medications begin to take effect, the hallucinations…if that’s what they were…subside into the sticky fog of uncomfortable memory. The metal bedframe to which I am tied shows evidence that I am one of many who have tried to escape.

I’m trying to type this on my notebook, without my mouse and my detachable keyboard. It’s not working. I keep getting lost in my technological madness, veering away from my mental decay, so it’s hard to keep going. Enough of this for now. We’re off to Dallas in a while and, then, tomorrow, to Mexico. Whether I’ll blog while I’m there remains to be seen.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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