Small talk has a mercy of its own.
Thoughts about why Harry may not wake her:
What does the narrator know and not know? What does the narrator assume? What validity can we give his assumptions?
What is the difference between wake and sleep? Is your sleeping life as important as your waking life? Is one more real than another?
There are times I’ve woken up and my dreams were so vivid and the emotions in them so painful–it was as if I lived it. I did live it, didn’t I? I wake up and tell myself, “I don’t have to do this. I can wake up and stop.” But can I? If those dreams are in me, than what is this? Am I waking or just waking to something new?
There are 24 hours in a day–are the 8 we’re asleep as valuable as the other 16?
The reason I ask myself these questions is because Harry’s a waker—when he wakens, he gets right up. When he rests, either to sit and watch t.v. or in a plane, for example, he falls directly asleep. Sleep and wake are clear cut to him and waking hours are the only real hours.
His wife, on the other hand, is one who pushes the snooze button. She values sleeping hours and the information from dreams. She sees sleeping as living and doing.
Harry is about to go to her door and stand there and contemplate these things. He knows she’ll never sleep like this again. She’s about to transition into the world of the non-sleepers–the sharks–the ones who have to constantly be at movement, and this life shift will happen to her in the moments between sleep and wake–when we comfort ourselves that we can wake.
“This is only a dream. I can wake up and stop it.”
–those moments. We all know them well.