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Street Cleaners

 

You can’t sleep. You roll around and toss and turn in my sheets.

Restless.

Somewhat unlike the boy who used to sleep in with me until 3pm in my loft bedroom. I used to have to kiss you a million times just to wake you up from your doze. When the sun rose we used to take it in turns to drape sheets over the windows to stop the light entering our cocoon a little longer. Remember?

Now you can’t settle so I tell you to go.

It’s 5am and the sun is just beginning to show on the curtains. Night’s gone but it’s not quite morning yet either. There’s a distant whirring coming from the street cleaners outside. It reminds me of walking through our sleeping city the first time I left with you.

You kiss me on the forehead and tell me to go back to sleep. Zip up your jacket, walk down the hallway, down the stairs and the door clicks shut.

I lay in silence, your headlights beam up my bedroom wall. The engine whirs as you hit first gear, your tyres roll away on the cool tarmac.

I haven’t moved since the noise of your engine bled into the early morning silence. In summer when the sun rises, this silence usually kept for darkness lingers and I think about how still the world would be without us.

You’re on the highway now. Tracing the route from mine to yours for the last time. Every headlight that soars past you a marker of the direction you’re choosing to take. You turn off and approach what’s your side of the city now. My side twinkles in your rearview mirror.

The light is strong on my curtains. I decide to slide my leg over to reach the final lukewarm, cotton-shaped you beside me. Morning birdsong outside my window settles a moment I had tried so hard to run from.

Maybe I’m too tired but all I feel is peace.

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