Rick closed the door to his room and before it latched to the lock, his foot instinctively went in between the door jam and the door and it didn’t close.

“Let it go,” he said to himself, but surprisingly out loud. His mind had a quick discussion with itself. ‘Let what go? Don’t you mean, Let her go? Don’t you have to have something before you can let it go? You don’t have her, so you can’t let her go. By the way, Mr. Paris, even if you did ‘have’ her, you wouldn’t really ‘have’ her because she is out of your league, no one has Sally. So stop with the macho ‘Let it go’ crap and I’ll tell you what you can let go: you can let go all that you still have control of, which isn’t much: your eyelids. Let them go and let yourself go to sleep, big fella.

“OK, this is way too much talking to myself,” Rick said and again surprised himself by talking to himself out loud. He decided to stop.

The door was still open. At least a crack. Her room was just down the hall. Maybe she had done the same thing. Maybe her room was open just a crack, too. Maybe she wanted him to come into her room and sweep her off of her feet and …

‘Hello? I’m back! Have we met? I’m going to talk to you again as you don’t seem to be paying attention,’ Rick said to himself, but at least within the comfort of his own mind. He gave up trying to stop it as it seemed it was going to be a losing battle.

‘Here’s a thought. Ha, that’s a joke. Get it? Because I’m just a thought in your mind and I’m telling you that here’s a thought. Get it? OK, forget it. Rick, are you there? Back your foot out of the door jam, put on your flannel plaid jammies and go night night.’

Rick interrupted his own self with his other self and thought, ‘I don’t have flannel plaid jammies … I don’t even call them jammies.’ He shook his head to get rid of the voices apparently having a scintillating conversation within the confines of his own head. It was time for action.

He backed his foot out of the door and consciously had to lift his hand to put it on the knob to then push it and close it until it clicked. It took most of his will to let the door close and put an end to the day. Tomorrow is another day.

But he couldn’t move. He couldn’t step away from the door. Wait, was that a noise? Maybe she was calling out to me? No, just someone out in the street. He used all of what was left of his puny brain power to turn around and walk back in the room.

Usually one to fold his pants and at least put them on a horizontal surface, he used one foot to scrape off one shoe and then reached down to force off the other without untying any laces. While he was down there, he pulled off each sock in a swift and, dare anyone notice, graceful elegance and didn’t fall over as he continued in one motion and pulled his button-down shirt up and over his head as he got closer to the bed. He needed to brush his teeth. Just out of these pants and as he let himself fall onto the bed in something of a diver’s turn and twist, he undid his belt and pushed his pants to his thighs, landed on the bed and while bouncing back up slightly, tugged at the cuffs of the pants and they were off.

His mind was swimming, spinning and drowning in too much action. Where was Sally? How could he have so many thoughts, at least 84 thoughts, about her and what she might be doing right now? Was she thinking about him? He tried to think about the day, what about plans for tomorrow? What about the whole month? What was she wearing to bed? No, wrong thoughts. Was she a good writer? Could they work together? Did she have jammies or some silky thing or nothing? Grammar. Spelling is especially important. Silky thing. For sure. Good speller, but he could help.

Stop. Stop. Stop.

If just one day lasted this long and took this much out of him, how in the world would he be able to last  even one more day? A month? It was an eternity. What was his game plan? Was there a game plan? Should there even be one? What if he did this? What if she did that? How would he react? Or should he act before she acts? It was too much. Where was all of this coming from?

Something was brewing in his belly and it wasn’t dinner. He felt something in his gut that he didn’t recognize. He probably had seen the Alien movies too many times, but it felt like something was alive in his stomach and it was making its way up his body, through his intestines, into his chest, wrapping around his heart and up towards his throat.

The sensation wasn’t as physical as it was emotional. It was as if a thought was rolling up his system and heading to his brain where it would be translated and understood. Maybe then he would know what to do! He relaxed his body on the bed. He took a deep breath. Ah, yes, that was better. Thoughts of Sally thankfully floated away as this thing, this thought, this answer, maybe this big idea was in his throat. He felt that he had to clear his throat but maybe that would make it go away.

His breath became slower and deeper. It was at the back of his throat and coming up into his head. He smiled as he knew something was coming, something that would help him. His body was still. All of his thoughts vanished like wisps of smoke in a wind. He felt it fill his brain and as it trickled through his mind like water over a desert landscape and seeped into the pores of his knowing, he was asleep.

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