I have just eaten a soft boiled egg

We have swapped sides on the bed. I now have the window which the cool air comes in through. But I also have the traffic noise, which I hate. I hate the sound of cars, of loud machinery, the whine of garden equipment.

The ambient hum, that’s OK. I remember when I would walk home from my ex-lover’s house I would cross a large field, a former airfield, which separated suburbia from industry. I would stop some nights on a rec and listen to the night: the hum and drone from the factory. The occasional clang of metal muffled by the hum. The sound of night creatures: birds, owls and foxes. I didn’t mind those night sounds. I enjoyed them.

David Lynch captured those sounds perfectly in Eraserhead.

3.06 pm. I have an earache. I’m lying in bed. My ears are protected by a pillow on one side and the duvet on the other. Before lying in bed I tried to listen to Chrysta Bell’s This Train but whatever is going wrong hearing is creating a filter where certain frequencies aren’t registering and bass notes buzz in my lower ear like a broken speaker; it was like listening through cheap earphones, a frustrating experience.

2.26 am. I’m in bed, the fan is on creating suitable white noise. I can hear imaginary cars driving past. My hearing is still off. The whistling is so loud it makes me feel nauseous. I’ll ask my GP about it next week.

It is now the next day, Saturday. And I am still writing this to you. I have just eaten a soft boiled egg and I am listening to Chrysta Bell’s This Train again. My hearing has improved but it is still strange. The whistling is still there, as loud as ever. I have the window open fully to cool the room but it is dripping rain water onto a tissue on my desk.

It’s 16.16 and it feels like it is going to rain. The sky, which is all I can see through my window, looks angry: many shades of grey, oil-painting style, across the heavens.

Today, I am flat. I am empty. A featureless blank sky would suit me better. There is distant hammering and even further away there is a cricket going on, I hear the crack of the ball hitting the bat and the occasional cheer. The wind is picking up and Chrysta Bell is singing “Somewhere in the Nowhere”.

I am going to go to the shop shortly to buy wine and beer. My head feels muffled, foggy. I hate this feeling. The room is cooling quickly.

They fuck you up, they may not mean to, but they do.

And you have to live with it every day. Whether they meant to or not, you still have to live with it.

Chrysta Bell sings “Kiss me again, I’m yours”.

When this record finishes I’ll go to the shop.

So low.

I am sitting on the edge of the bed in the inky dark

As human beings, we need pillows to support our necks. In the evening the sun shines. In the day the sky is grey.

I am the person at the window. I am the one watching. I only watch. I cannot keep them from trouble. I only watch.

The warmth rises. It fills the space. It blocks your nose. It blocks your ears. It disorientates your senses. Where am I? Where is this? What are those flashing lights?

Trouble is, we forget. Who is bad. You see. We forget.

So I have been asleep for a few hours since I started writing to you. It is now almost midnight. I don’t know what I have written before this. (What I write as I am falling asleep is usually nonsense!) I only know what I am writing now.

The room is dark. Except for the light from my phone and the display on the tower fan which says 22°C. The world is still. Right now. I think the window is closed. You are in the bathroom.

I dreamt of the same house twice. First, last night then again tonight. But I can’t remember my dream from tonight, except I was back in that house.

A car drives past breaking the silence.

Now, it is just the ringing in my ears again. The constant high-pitched ringing. Ringing is wrong. It sounds like a continuous flow of sound. Whistling. Yes, whistling is better.

Midnight. 12.00 am. Zero hour.

It is now tomorrow. It is now today.

The sound in my ears is making me feel nauseous.

I am sitting on the edge of the bed in the inky dark. My sinuses are blocked. My face is lit by my phone I can see it out of the corner of my eye reflected in the mirror.

I am sitting in the living room now. You have headphones over your ears and you are playing a game. The hum in the living room competes with the whistling in my ears.

It’s now after two. You are brushing your teeth and I am lying on top of the candlewick bedspread with the red cat. The light is on. It is very late. No sounds outside just the constant whistling in my ears.

2.30 am. Upstairs with a glass of Laphroaig. I have to go to the doctor’s surgery first thing tomorrow to pick up the letter from my GP. I am going to be very tired.

In bed. 4.10 am. Not tired. Headache. Escitalopram yawns. It is very quiet and still. Very pleasant. Just your breathing and the whistling. There is cool air coming in through the window. I can feel it on the back of my neck. I keep clenching my jaw, another escitalopram side-effect. Why am I suddenly getting side-effects after a year?

The brown cat is somewhere in the room I can hear her bell. A car passes heading towards town. The world will be waking up soon but I don’t want to think that. Because I want to sleep.

I am clenching my jaw again. It is making my headache worse. I hope it’s sunny in the morning when I walk over to the doctors. Nice dry heat and the sun on my face.

I ought to try and fall asleep. Maybe I’ll read for a while. My moon is upstairs, charging. I put the potatoes away in the fridge if you are looking for them.

Cath can’t sleep. She is sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of milky tea. Outside the window, she can hear the papers being delivered to the local shop. She swallows the last of her tea. The papers have been the delivered and the van has driven away. The world is still again. She goes to the bathroom, urinates, washes her hands and swallows an Ambien with a handful of water from the tap. She goes back to the kitchen eats a biscuit from the tin. Turns out the lights and goes to bed.

The light is dull this afternoon

The light is dull this afternoon. The right side of my face is still congested and my hearing is still wrong. When I close my eyes I can see my face as it would be in an advert for a decongestant formula. Sounds are muffled. I have a headache.

It is humid. Overcast. The low pressure is affecting my mood. Both cats are lying with me on the bed.

Ever since I can remember I have never liked loud sounds. Sounds that I don’t just hear but also feel. One of my autistic traits.

These are the summer days we forget. Dull flat light. Grey. Overcast. Humid. Low pressure that you can feel in your sinuses, dulling your senses. Brain fog. Lethargy. You can feel days such as these all over you, like stale sweat which won’t evaporate in the humidity.

Shadowless summers.

I don’t mind the heat. Once I am acclimatised. It’s these days of uninteresting light. Of lethargy. Muffled flat sounds which travel lazily through the windows to my ears, like even sound waves can’t be bothered to move through the humid air. Where nothing seems to lift my mood and my head feels foggy.

Yesterday I felt empty. Today I feel full.

I have moved to other side of the flat. Here there is cool air coming in through the window. There is distant bird song punctuated by the drone and whine of garden machinery.

The red cat has joined me and he is sprawled out messily, as is his style, on the sewing box next to my chair.

My head throbs.

The wind picks up. The curtains blow. The cool air circulates the room. The ceiling light moves back and forth. The red cat stirs and mews. The distant sound of children leaving school. Hans-Joachim Roedelius’s Wenn Der Südwind Weht plays quietly.

The sky is grey.

My hearing is still strange.

I need to finish writing an e-mail. But the words won’t come. They are jumbled and distant. Always just out of reach. When I do manage to send them to my fingertips they either disappear or they all want to be typed at once.

Syntax error.

Syntax error.

The squeal from the gate next door splits my brain in two.

The sky is white.

Put some fucking water displacement 40th formula on your fucking gate! Jesus!

My head lies on my desk in two pieces. The cool air blows over my exposed brain split perfectly through the corpus callosum. Eno’s Thursday Afternoon plays.

Everything is suddenly uninteresting

Late afternoon, Tuesday. Today has been a bad day. I am lying down. There is a distant drone coming from the dental surgery at the end of the road. And of course the sound of traffic which is beginning to build. It is 25°C.

My ears feel blocked and senses feel muffled. I have taken two antihistamines. All the sounds surrounding me are irritating. Today has been a bad day. My ECs were not approved for being late. I am now capped at 40% for the year. The muffled drones are passing through my ears like metal wire and turning my brain to mush.

My head is beginning to ache.

Lorraine is in Chelmsford now, staying with sister. Yesterday she brought a new phone after smashing her old one before leaving Colchester a few days earlier. She travelled to Brightlingsea and threw its remains in the Colne. She was tired of Dom’s calls. Her final message was clear so he had no reason to contact her. Despite studying for two years at the Colchester Institute before moving north she’d never been to Brightlingsea. She took in the sights, ate lunch in a small café then caught the train to Chelmsford.

The pressure is dropping I can feel it pressing on my eyes and sinuses. It is pushing my mood down with it. I think the extra antihistamine has caused my headache. I should have gone to the pharmacy and got some pseudoephedrine to clear my sinuses. My right ear feels slightly more blocked which makes me feel off-kilter.

This is boring. I apologise. I feel empty. Everything is suddenly uninteresting. All I want to do is sleep.

I’ll put on my trainers and help you outside. Then I’ll drink a rum eat some chocolate and go from there.




To recover his equilibrium he focused his attention on a distant plane

Channing and Melissa were kissing on Channing’s sofa. Above them was a large poster print of Evelyn McHale. Channing favoured a minimal decor and aside from the print the only indications of human presence in the apartment were a framed original page of a newspaper reporting Evelyn McHale’s suicide on the wall opposite the poster and below it a reel to reel tape recorder.

Channing’s hands were on Melissa’s hips pulling her closer to his erection but the tightness of her grey office skirt prevented any real contact. She sat up with the intention of raising her skirt. In spite of Melissa’s sexually arousal, the euphoric effects of the crushed oxycodone they had inhaled were giving way to feelings of sedation more typical of the opiate; she awkwardly shimmied in her knee-length skirt raising it halfway to her hips then gave up and leaned back, her head against the poster; she turned her head towards the window and looked out at the distant landscape with barely focusing eyes.

On the reel to reel Channing’s own recordings of Satie’s Trois Gymnopédies played at half-speed. When Melissa first met Channing he had played one of the pieces on a piano in a railway station and asked if she recognised it. She had said yes, from television. Channing had said that those versions were always too fast. Satie had intended the piece to be played in a funereal manner. Now at half-speed, the melancholic air of the piece was almost tangible and the room suddenly felt oppressive. Overwhelmed, Melissa closed her eyes.

Channing got up, smoothed his clothing and went over to the window. He felt faint from a drop in blood pressure. To recover his equilibrium he focused his attention on a distant plane climbing into the darkening sky.

The longer it haunts me

It’s 3 pm. I’m lying on the bed. Outside the sky is white. Beneath the white there is grey. It’s 3 pm and my mood is low.

I roll on to my back and look at the ceiling. It is white but looks grey in the light from the window. No, not grey, there is warmth, but close to grey nonetheless. In the centre of the ceiling there is a light. It has a narrow frosted glass shade in the modernist style.

My face stings from shaving. And the smell of the aftershave is making me nauseous. I should wash it off.

I close my eyes but it doesn’t block out the world. Cars still pass. People still exchange pleasantries. I close my eyes tighter but the cars and people are still there.

You have the television on in the other room and someone is singing.

I hate the sound of the cars.

I need to finish my EC. But I don’t want to return to that world. I don’t want to remind myself how bad the last seven months have been and the detrimental effect they’ve had on my mental health. Months of not coping. Of falling apart hidden behind my usual mask of disconnection and indifference. It is a necessary evil. I understand that. But it’s not a place I want to revisit.

Hence why I’m lying on the bed. Avoiding.

But of course the longer I put it off the longer it haunts me. I’m not stupid.

The brown cat is asleep by my feet. Outside there are now blue patches in the white sky. One hour gone.

I wonder about Lorraine. I remember her as a music student at the Colchester Institute twenty years ago.

I wonder about Diana. I wonder what happen after she left Pascal. Last I heard she too was in Essex.

More blue now. The room is brightening.