It's 2:45 in the morning

and I'm putting myself on warning

for waking up in an unknown place

with a recollections you half erased

looking for somebodies arms to

wave away past harms.

Elliot Smith, 2:45 A.M.

He glances at the clock, garish, sharp, neon blue numbers reading out two forty-five A.M.; a time where he should be sleeping, damn it, not thinking of a girl one-hundred seventy three and one third miles away in Portland. Closing his eyes, he tries, stubbornly and relentlessly to just go to sleep; he counts all the goddamn sheep he can think of, listens to the softest and sleepiest playlist he has, and in the end he finds himself so desperate that he just closes his eyes and pretends to sleep. After 22 heartbeats of this (he had counted his pulse, fingers digging lightly into the vein in his neck), he cracks open an eye, peers at the clock, making out the blur of blue numbers to read an even unholier time than before: three fifty-seven. He sits up in his bed, bringing his fingertips up to the tender point on his temple where a steady headache was building up; he knows this headache, he's had it before, always at a time when he needs to think, or sleep, or something, and she just pops into his head. He knows this headache, so he puts his head in his hands, and rearranges the file cabinet of his mind so she is kept to in a locked box in the corner of his brain; he works on forgetting that girl with the guarded eyes and the smile and the feeling that she could tell you all the secrets of the universe. He does this ritual at least once every third day, and it never works. He wishes he could just forget about her, but there's something about her that makes sense to him, though he'd have a hell of a time trying to explaining what. He forgets to forget, because while he does the ritual with the bare, naked, honest-to-god belief that this will be the night when he forgets about her, somewhere in between sorting his memories of her and burning them, he starts to reminisce. The memories flash through his head, flashing images and sounds, and then the memories burn. He breaths in, breath slightly ragged, and does all he can to ease the pain – he writes. He does this often, grabbing a pen and using a notebook or scrap of paper or even his body to put the memories somewhere else, and somehow, writing the story of her (some of it made up, some of it as real as the bed he is laying in) takes away the pain.