My eyes do this weird thing sometimes when I wake in the night. One eye won't dilate. Or is it undilate? Whatever, one eye won't adjust to the lack of light. So sometimes when I wake up, one eye is blind and I lay in bed, panicking and listening to every small sound.
Tonight I don't know what woke me, but my heart's a pounding triphammer. I'm not exactly scared, but I'm the opposite of calm. The heater is pinging as the cold shakes it to life. It's early November, so the weather has only just gotten cold enough to warrant turning on the thermostat. Usually I turn it down before bed, but tonight I forgot.
My blind eye won't allow in even the moonlight streaming onto my bed from the crack in the curtains. The moon is nearly full, and my right eye tells me it's almost like daylight, or at least one-hour-after-dawn light. My lazy left eye says, there's nothing there. Go back to sleep.
It sounds like something at the window, making my heart leap alarmingly. Don't be ridiculous. It's just my stupid eye making me jittery. There's nothing there.
I force my breathing to still: plug left nostril, deep breath in right side. Plug both. Hold. Unplug left, exhale. Repeat. Repeat.
Then I deliberately make myself get up. Go to the window. Stop at the thermostat to turn it down. Peek through the curtains. A flutter in the air catches my eye. Looks like a plastic bag but it's black. A bat? I close my lazy eye to focus. Hard to focus. It really looks like cloth, but the air is almost hazy. Seems to be flying away from the window. Blowing. Blowing away from the window. That's no animal... I don't think. I stare at it, fascinated by its undulating movements. It looks like a dance.
I want more than anything to fly out this window.
I have a sudden feeling of utter desolation. I can't fly. Why is that so tragic right now? I couldn't fly this morning, and it didn't occur to me to be heartbroken then. Part of my brain is suspended, watching my emotional centre react to some unnoticed stimuli. I want to cry. The black fluttering object is nearly out of sight. I raise my hand toward it, and the window is cold as a December flagpole.
As I turn to go back to bed, I allow my blind eye to re-open, and miraculously, this time it recovers. Focuses. Zeroes in on a handprint on the window. A small handprint. On the outside of the window.
This really only registers in the distant reaches of my mind as I crawl back into bed, overcome with sleep once more.