“Gift Horse” was the best birthday present I’ve ever given to anyone. I don’t mean for the recipient – but for me. Because there’s nothing better in the world than going into the bedroom at night or waking up in the morning to find Heather fast asleep cuddled up with it in her arms. When I see that, I feel so loved. I mean – I’m not the horse but (maybe because I made it[?]) it feels like I’m getting to look at her cuddled up to me…. [or something like that…] – that’s the best explanation I can come up with anyway. But she’s so beautiful and she hugs it (even in her sleep) with such conviction that… – it’s just really nice. It makes me really happy.
I love her a lot.
And I don’t wanna disturb her by turning on the lights just to take a picture but, luckily, I have this one from a few weeks ago.
And – just this moment – I’ve realized that this is the perfect opportunity to share a piece that I haven’t yet… [yes – the one with the title]. “Took a Picture” was the product of one of my Friday afternoon expressive art therapy groups, back when I was in outpatient mode. Earlier that day…
I opened my eyes and looked over at Heather. “Do you know how much you laugh in your sleep?” she asked. I smiled. “Is it a sinister, maniacal laugh? Do I sound like I’m plotting evil?” She laughed. “Not at all. It’s really happy. You sound really happy.” “Hmmm, well – don’t tell anyone that… or tell them, but say that my eyes are open at the time – my cold, dead eyes.” She rolled hers at me.
Heather didn’t have to work early that day but – when she did have an early morning shift – she’d only come sleep over the night before if I agreed to “no funny business.” Of course, I would promise. And though I don’t think I ever once actually honored that promise, she’d take my word for it every time (like a total sucker). And even once I did go to sleep, she said I’d sometimes contort and throw my body across the mattress like a maniac. What a joy it must have been to share a bed with me!
It hadn’t even been three weeks since I moved out of Tranquil Shores and back into the real world. How was my life this wonderful already? How could I possibly deserve to be waking up next to this girl each day?
This piece existed in a strange limbo for a long time because I titled it as soon as I finished it and immediately wished that I had used the title for the caption as well. Because the original caption – though based in authenticity – felt contrived. I wrote it without forethought in a “stream of consciousness” sorta way, but I had essentially quoted myself… which I didn’t like at all. I had this “rule” though – against altering anything once I had deemed it finished. Eventually, I got over that and – now – the title and caption are one in the same and the piece finally feels right.
- That original caption was: “She stays over even though I keep her up. (I’m a sexual terrorist). And when I sleep, I thrash. And I laugh. A lot. Not with cold, dead eyes. It’s joyful. Don’t fucking repeat that.”
- This piece is available as a 14×6″ print.
- The original drawing is also for sale but given its strange dimensions, the frame isn’t quite right. Then again, it looks kinda cool like this…
- Check out “Gift Horse,” the catalyst for this entry.