The sandman sits on my bedside table. He is shorter than I expected. Fatter, too. And, he isn’t gold and dusty. He is black, and lumpy, like tar. And, he won’t shut up.
“Let’s talk about your mother,” he says. His voice is small, but piercing. I glare at him. He doesn’t look at me. He hasn’t this whole time. He looks at his own hands, turning them over and over, fascinated.
“Oh, would you shut up,” I tell him, rolling over.
“What about your girlfriend in high school. The one you had for two weeks. Remember when you met her father. Remember how big his mustache was?”
I do, it was thick like a broomstick and always twitching. I always remember him on an incline for some reason. I close my eyes. There he is, above me, frowning, mustache in motion.
“Yes, that is how I remember it, too.” The Sandman says to his own hands. I roll over and shove him off the bedside table. Behind him my clock says 4:03. I groan.
I lay back. The Sandman crawls up the blanket and sits on my chest. He is warm. He looks down at his smallest finger.
“What about when you wet the bed at your friend’s house and you just flipped the cushions? Do you think you got away with it? Maybe you just have polite friends.”
“You’re the devil,” I say with my eyes closed.
“No, no, I don’t think so, I hope not.”
I open one eye and look at The Sandman, he is looking wide eyed into a corner of my room, thinking. He looks about to cry. I sigh.
“You’re not the devil, you’re just, annoying.”
At this, The Sandman does begin to cry. Crumbing bits of black fall off his face onto my chest. It trickles under my blanket.
I grab The Sandman and pull him closer to me. I roll over, hugging him. He stops crying, he turns soft. I look down. My childhood teddy bear looks up at me. It has the Sandman’s eyes. It smiles. I smile.
“Remember when your brother vomited on your teddy bear after they tried to drink Mother’s alcohol. And then you cried, even though you were too old to be crying over things like that.”
I pick up the sandman and hold his placid face to mine.
“Shut up,” I growl. I grab him by the neck and tuck him down the bed by my feet. He wiggles my toes, one after another.
“Remember when you thought witches were coming to grab you by your feet in the night? Even in summer you slept under a blanket because you thought it would protect you.” He giggles.
I open my eyes, my alarm is blaring. The sky out the window is gray.