I’m not disturbing you, am I? Good! No really, thanks, that’s decent of you. Mostly, I’m decent too. That’s why we’re both here-two decent skins; me, you and a sea of dark air around us. That’s a lovely back you have, a grand specimen. You must be an athlete or very young, not too young I hope. Women can get done for that kind of thing too. Now, that’s it. You just sleep away and I’ll do all the thinking. Where was I? Oh yes. I was just saying that you shouldn’t really be here. If you were meant to be here, I would be able to sleep, and I can’t sleep. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s just that it’s a bit weird you having your back to me. Not that I can see it, but I can feel it. I keep sticking to it like velcro every time you breathe down. It’s not that I don’t want to stick to you, oh no, you mustn’t think I don’t like you, it’s just that, I’m wondering, if the bed was a bit smaller would we be more entwined? See, here we go. Down – me on you. Up – me off you. Down. Up. Down. Up. Up. Up. An alternation!

Was that an incipient snore I heard? Nasal problems. Well, it’s good that you’re not totally perfect. Believe it or not, I have my imperfections too. I’m moving over to my side of the bed now, okay? No, really, it’s been nice but I need to lie flat … can I have my foot back? Sorry, there, one moment, ah! Much better, you see we don’t have to do everything together. I’m well able to be independent through all this. See? Look at me, thinking away here to myself. I’m completely at ease beside you Rudy.

It is Rudy isn’t it? Yes it is, because I remember singing that song in the first bar we were in. You were licking salt off your lips from the rim of the glass telling me that you’re gigging in Berlin. ‘Berlin?’ I said and you said ‘Uhhuh bay-bee.’ And I screeched ‘Bayyyyybeeee? You’re in Ireland now, Mac Daddy,’ and slapped your thigh. ‘What d’you play anyway?’ and you said, ‘I mess around, beat drums,’ and that’s when I sang ‘to YOU, deh deh deh deh deh deh deh, a message to YOU Rooooooodeeeee… Stop your messing around dehhh nehhh, Got to think of…

You’re awake! Yes, you are, I can hear that you are, your breathing has changed. And now you’re moving! Your leg is moving forwards, and, what’s this? You’re moving further away! You must be right on the edge of the bed. Didn’t I give you enough room there? Here, let me move over some more. Have a bit more, there now. Both of us on the edge of the mattress in the dark and it’s silent. That’s okay. I’m able to be distant. It’s just that there’s a bit of a draft on your back now that the duvet has turned tent. You must be chilly. Brrr.

Oh, what a lovely stretch, what a yawn! I’m so sleepy now that I could almost drift anywhere, towards you in fact, in my half-dozed state. Oh here I go, here I am, that lovely spine. I’m not responsible for what happens in my sleep, you know. It’s not that I want to cuddle or anything. I’m not an intimacy addict. Are you tensing up? Just a bit? Are you really asleep? Are you pretending?

3.14 am

I KNOW I SAID I WOULDN’T DO THIS, not after the last time, and the time before that, and before that. Now, now, stop whirlygigging, that’s not going to do anyone any good. Count sheep. Count sheep. Count cocktails. Count cocktails. Count… now, now, stop whirlygigging.

3.15 am

There once was a woman from Dublin
Who met many strangers out dubbin’
‘I’m fed up with weird lovers!’
Yet she moved in the covers,
and indeed she did not have a stitch on.

3.16 am

Did I have that much to drink? God, such horrible stuff it was too. All those sickly cocktails with umbrellas all over the place. That’s right. You fed me cherries and it was all a bit of fun really. The others went home. Oh, they tried, they tried to make me leave, but I said, ‘Nonononononoooooo.’ That’s right, you said you were looking for a date to bring to the Awards in a few weeks. And I said I’d go, that I have this fabulous dress that I never get to wear. And then the Gypsy Kings came on and we danced hoola-hoola style on each other’s thigh bones and then we fell out of the night club sweating and laughing, the cold air drying your spit on my mouth. And I said goodnight and tried to lose you, I really did, but then you had to go and link arms with me and walk me to the top of Grafton Street, which was the opposite direction of your hotel, because there was no way I was going back to your hotel, no way at all.

Do you want some water? I’m bloody dehydrated, l must say. The inside of my mouth is starting to ferment. I didn’t hear you? You’re asleep then. Okay. That’s okay, no really. Enjoy it. Enjoy my bed, my heart, my air, my very flower, have it all why don’t you! Didn’t I say we could be friends? Let me just get a quick sniff of the back of your head. Mmmmm. Quite a man. What a nape. You know I can smell your hair growing there. Yep, it’s true, your ears are growing hairs, your stubble is starting over again, the sweat from earlier has made you tropical. You are in a state of lush. How dare you be more lush than me. Look, I’m going to turn around now and let you appreciate my lushness. Okay. One, two, three … four, five, six, seven, I don’t hear you! Eight, nine, ten, did you move? Eleven, twelve, thirteen. It’s not going to happen, is it? You are not going to smell me, are you? You just loll about there and snooze on the back of my efforts. I gave you it all, you ungrateful hog.

3.22 am

Poke, Poke. Hello, hello. Can’t you show just one little sign? A twitch of an ankle perhaps? Don’t you care that I don’t love you? You won’t find anyone as good as me out there I’ll tell you. Ingrate, wait and see.

4.22 am

Phew. Sorry about all that. See, if you forgive me, I’ll forgive you. What colour exactly is your back? Let me lick it just to see. Don’t squirm. There you go. You’re a salty one. Like a peanut. What’s that? A hairy mole. How many of them do you have? I’ll just lick further down to check.

Weird, it could be my tongue but you seem furrier than I thought. Older than I thought. Oooooops, shhhhhhhhhh. Nearly woke you there. What’s this? A bit of flab? Are we letting go of ourselves? Perhaps you’re really asleep after all, I wouldn’t leave that exposed if I were you. I thought you worked out, kept fit, muscle city, but this feels to me like a bit of a tyre. No, don’t bother to wake up. Believe me, you don’t want to lie here like me.

5.15 am

Where was I? Yes. Sleepy bye bye’s. Look, I forgive you for being a mute slob, a user shagger, a beer goggle giver. You know, I may even make breakfast for you tomorrow. A lovely big fry up for your tyre and lots of hot coffee. In bed if you want. Even though I can’t see you and you don’t say much, I quite like your company. You know, I could even get used to you long-term. We’re so… welcome to each other.

5.20 am

Thank God it’s still dark. That awful nightclub. Never, ever again. That stupid horse and carriage back to the house. Utterly naff. What was I thinking of? And the guy ripped us off-sorry, ripped you off. Forty euro and let’s add another fifty for drinks and that crappy rose the Romanian sold you for the ‘Beeeoooteefool laydee’. What a waste of money. For God’s sake, you could have got a woman cheaper on the street. Well, I hope it was worthwhile.

God, I’ve got a lurch in my heart now, a murmur. I can hear the day starting again. All over again. I can’t keep this darkness for too long. ls that panic? Will you hold my hand for just a minute? Come on. Please. I’m not asking for much, just open your fist and let me in. You won’t? Okay then. Here we go. One finger, two fingers, three, that’s it. I’m just going to slip my hand in there, see? Not too bad, is it? Now we’re together. All friends like last night.

You take your hand away, drop mine just like that? Of course you’re sleeping, you don’t know what you are doing. I forgive you. Wait till you see my kitchen tomorrow. I can make fresh orange juice, maybe you’ll stay for the day, maybe we’ll go to the cinema…

6.13 am

You think I’m asleep. But I’m not, I can hear you. Mooching around trying to find your clothes. Don’t bother looking for your socks. They’re still on your feet. That’s it. Nice of you to creep around so that I don’t wake up. Look, I’m opening one eye, spying on you getting dressed. Maybe if you turned around you’d see me and like me. Like me more than you already do, of course.

Still, that back of yours, I’ll know every inch of it forever. Okay then, get lost. Let me tell you something. You’re no big deal anyway; in fact, you’re hardly good looking at all. See, I don’t care, so enjoy your day and I’ll enjoy mine. I have plans-better places, better people than you. That’s right, don’t leave your number because I’m not going to call. Go on… get out… get out of here now. That’s right, close the door lightly as you go, so I don’t wake up.