The Waking Man

Giles woke with a bad taste in his mouth and a head full of regrets. He felt his lips tighten as he cleared away glasses and ashtray, slid records into sleeves, and threw yesterday’s clothes into the washer.

You couldn’t go back – but he had, and as he flexed his bruised hand he wondered what he blamed Ethan for most – stripping the golden haze from his memories, or making him look foolish in front of his Slayer?

Or not being there to be bent over curved metal, cuffed hands curled in supplication, eyes bright with laughter.

That won every time.

Never the time and the place
 And the loved one all together!
This path—how soft to pace!
This May—what magic weather!
Where is the loved one’s face? I
n a dream that loved one’s face meets mine,
But the house is narrow, the place is bleak
Where, outside, rain and wind combine
With a furtive ear, if I strive to speak,
With a hostile eye at my flushing cheek,
 With a malice that marks each word, each sign!
O enemy sly and serpentine,
Uncoil thee from the waking man!
 Do I hold the Past
Thus firm and fast
Yet doubt if the Future hold I can?

Robert Browning

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