Night Waking
by Megan Dobkin


   I wake up and find myself, once again, in my parents’ sunken living room. It is one of those charades parties they used to throw. This was before their group of friends decided that it would be best for everyone involved to stop having those parties. Things were getting too heated and competitive. Friendships were being damaged. Coked-up charades is, indeed, as bad of an idea as it sounds. 

 

   My entourage is sitting in the corner of the L couch, where they always appear when they show up for me. The Frog, The Pig, The Bear, The Big Yellow Bird, The Green Monster In The Trashcan. They watch as young couples pantomime too fast for their teammates to follow. Those two old men from the balcony sit on the back of the couch, heckling my mother, who has suddenly realized mid-turn that she can’t remember what her little folded paper said. I walk into the room in my adult body and a long floral nightgown with a threaded ribbon scoop neck. I rub my eyes and ask for a drink of water. The room stops short. This room in which everyone’s name begins with “Uncle” or “Aunt,” even though there is no blood relation. Half of the room looks the other way. They are nervous that I am there. One “Auntie” figure is all too willing to approach me and stare into my eyes.  She is convinced that a deep unspoken connection is passing between us. She feels it.  Two co-workers can’t stop laughing in the corner. Are they laughing at me?

 

   My entourage files off of the couch and surrounds me. They come up to my waist. They pop up and down quickly as they walk. They guide me back to our bedroom. The one that I share with my boyfriend, not the one I grew up in. He is sleeping with his back to my side of the bed. He must have taken something to help him finally get to sleep. He always needs help getting himself to sleep. The Blue Monster pats my bedcover and gives me a cookie with my water. The Frog picks a quiet bedtime song on his ukelele. The Yellow Bird fluffs my pillow beneath me.  He explains that anything that I see is real, even if others don’t see it. A Yellow and an Orange Man assure me that anyone I choose to live with can feel like family. The Brown Bear keeps telling me jokes. They aren’t any good, but I laugh anyway because it’s what he loves to do. The strange animal with the curlicue nose pulls my covers to my neck and tells me not to worry if I feel I am the only creature of my kind. Finally, The Pig sends all of them out of the room and plops down next to me. She looks my boyfriend’s sleeping body up and down and nods to herself. She takes me in her arms, pulling my face closer into her bloated breasts popping out of her flowing purple negligee.

 

She tells me to enjoy being looked at.

That within my gender I can find my personal power.
To go out and karate chop my way to what I am entitled to.

And that sadness is a quality worth chasing.




   Megan spent the last fifteen years as a producer and executive for film and television. After working with writers on such movies as Girl,Interrupted; The Recruit; Walk The Line; The Vow; Kate And Leopold and the two middle films of the Scream franchise, Megan began to stare at her own damn blinking cursor. She continues to develop projects for and with her husband writer/director David Dobkin (best known for his film Wedding Crashers), while writing poetry and fiction and answering tough Star Wars questions from the two little criminals who live in the backseat of her car. She just finished her first novel and her writing has appeared/is forthcoming in The McNeese Review, Word Riot, Crack The Spine (also selected for the Fall 2013 Anthology), The Bicycle Review, The Apeiron Review and The Eunoia Review. She graduated with degrees in English and Cultural Anthropology from Kenyon College.



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