RESTLESS

I resent the fact that the hair on my legs grows at a rate envied by pubescent boys. Within hours of shaving, I have stubble. Normally, I take advantage of the fact that Mother Nature has deprived me of smooth skin and grate it against Taylor's face to remind him that I hate facial hair just as much as he hates hairy legs, but there's something about waking up at four in the morning and having leg hair catch in my sheet fibers that simply evokes this undeniable sense of barbaric revulsion.

Earlier that week, Taylor had been approached by numbers of independent record labels interested in his "vintage" style. They arranged to watch him perform that Wednesday night, and the sheer thought of it had rendered me an insomniac.

Frustrated that he wasn't lying awake, counting the imperfections in the stucco ceiling, I shoved him before removing myself from the bed to flee to the bathroom.

"What the fuck are you doing?" He grunted, refusing to open his eyes.

"I'm shaving my legs at four in the morning!" I yelled over the water, managing to smear shave gel in my hair.

"Can't you do that when it's light outside?"

"It's more aesthetic this way."

"What? I'm sorry, you're a complete idiot."

"Say it again and I'm not shaving for a week," I threatened, nicking myself in that space around the hamstring.

I imagine he actually weighed the pros of hairless legs against the cons of lost sleep before deciding hairy women were more repulsive than extra coffee in the morning. He didn't complain anymore and when I returned to the bedroom, I watched him fitfully sleep as he always had before wedging myself back into the tiny space left between his body and the edge of the bed.

After what felt like only five minutes of unsatisfying sleep, I was jolted awake by Taylor's frantic exodus from the bed. Prying open one eye, I watched him pace in front of the bed, kicking aside underwear and shoes before jogging out of the bedroom.

"Taylor!" I whined, rolling over the slap the digital clock on his side of the bed. "It's fucking 6:10 in the morning!"

He mumbled more inaudible, slurred thoughts and began tweaking his espresso machine until it hissed. "Coffee!" he screamed, his hands waving in front of his face.

I dragged myself to the door, "Taylor, what are you doing?"

He didn't stop pacing, merely paused to grab three eggs from the refrigerator in the useless effort to make an early morning omelet. In his frenzy, he dropped three frying pans on the floor and in the midst of the clutter he ran into the bathroom and shut the door.

"Are you okay?" I placed my ear against the door.

He whimpered and the thud that followed, I imagine, was him flopping onto the toilet in despair.

"Can I come in?"

Another whimper.

I opened the door to find him curled on the toilet seat, knees to chest, forehead in hands. "What's wrong?"

"Are you kidding me?"

No. "You seemed fine two hours ago!"

He didn't dignify my accusation with a response.

"Is this about tonight?"

"Of course this is about tonight!" Moderately ashamed, he kept staring at the red bath mat on the floor. I'd be lying if I said seeing him vulnerable wasn't endearing. "For Christ's sake, my whole career borders on what happens tonight!" He squeaked and gestured towards the floor.

"You'll-"

"Don't tell me I'm going to be great, I'm always great. It isn't going to help anything!"

"Fine, you'll be an embarrassment to the musical institution."

He shot a glare at me, still clutching his legs to his chest. I was amazing he hadn't teetered off the toilet at that point. "I hate you."

I grinned at him, "I know." I began pulling him back to the bedroom, only he resisted.

"This is serious, Kate," his eyes begged that he be left on the toilet seat.

"I know. What do you want me to say?"

He searched the bath mat for a moment and resolved, "Nothing." Stretching out on the porcelain seat, he closed his eyes. I watched him from the counter until his hands drooped off his stomach and dangled beside his body before falling asleep in the sink myself.

Once the sun had actually risen, I awoke to an empty bathroom and a cramp in my left ass cheek. Taylor had locked himself in the piano room, belting out shotty tunes to the walls and startling people on the sidewalks. Occasionally, he'd work himself into a fit and kick the door, selecting the most dignified expletives only to calm himself down again by vacuuming or tossing extraneous papers out his seventh-story window.

Behind the only closed door in his apartment, he suggested I go home and check back to see if he'd jumped out of his window in a few hours.

"Taylor?" I placed my hand on the door, "You're going to blow them away."

He was silent for a few moments; I knew what he was thinking, even though it was difficult for him to admit.

"What if they hate me?" He was so soft-spoken it sounded as though he were questioning himself. "What then?" He cracked open the door, only to the width of his eye and whispered, "Hey, I'll see you tonight, okay?"

I nodded as he closed the door again, resuming his cataclysmic worry.