Night Breathing

When Raymond Lambdin awoke, he felt warm air on the back of his head and he assumed Cassidy had slid farther to his side of the bed and she was breathing deeply

(isn’t that what people did in R.E.M. sleep? was the band named after that stage of sleep? if so, did they wish for their songs to be seen as dreams?),

so Raymond remained still out of concern for waking his wife; after all, Cassidy worked hard at the office and home, and she deserved a good rest; however, Raymond also worked hard at the office and in the yard, and he also deserved a good rest, but he had woken up and he couldn’t blame his wife for that, it wasn’t as if she was breathing powerfully with the aim to wake him —

then Raymond realized Cassidy had left for a long weekend to see her parents in Albuquerque

(which befuddled Raymond when visiting on holidays, since nothing about the place said “holidays” in the traditional sense, but Cassidy’s parents had said, “Albuquerque’s warm like Florida, but mystical,” except what did that mean? were Ruben and Tonya popping peyote

[or did you smoke that?]

and walking the desert in some kind of vision quests? if so, they never mentioned it),

so Cassidy wouldn’t be sleeping next to Raymond in bed tonight, shouldn’t be there, hadn’t been there when Raymond had gone to bed after 11:00, after watching four episodes of Rolfe

(which Cassidy didn’t enjoy, she said the show was “too gritty,” which was why Raymond liked it: Detective Mitchell Rolfe was tough and grizzled with gray five o’clock shadow and he was A-OK to bend the rules if it meant justice would be brought to the morons who dared commit murder in Rolfe’s jurisdiction),

but maybe something had gone wrong in Albuquerque, and Cassidy had flown back

(if so, why hadn’t she texted or called Raymond to pick her up from the airport? she would’ve more likely done that than taken a taxi or Uber or Lyft

[wasn’t there a new ride service with another strange name, like YakkaWhllz? how did they come up with those goofy names?],

which would’ve been costly to pay for a ride service but more convenient for Raymond, since he would’ve had to stop watching Rolfe to drive to the airport),

thus Raymond doubted something had gone wrong in Albuquerque, and Cassidy and her parents were surely snoozing, and it couldn’t be a kid or kids in bed next to Raymond, since Raymond and Cassidy didn’t have kids, not yet, they were planning on it and Cassidy had surely gotten an earful from her mother, saying, “Hurry up already, what’s the hold-up?” and Cassidy would’ve replied that she and Raymond were nearly there, as they had filled their “starter house” with the stuff they needed, so a grandchild would come soon, don’t worry —

then Raymond realized he had left a bedroom window open, the window with a view of the back yard, and their “starter garden”

(nobody’s born with a green thumb, c’mon, a lot of it is trial and error),

so if Cassidy was gone and the window was open, who

(or what)

was creating the warm breath that ruffled the back of Raymond’s head —

he was terrified to find out.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

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