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.
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.
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.
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!
So. This is what it has come to: in bed before 9 pm. The fragments lay scattered about. There is a deafening high-pitched sound. Ear-splitting. In the other room, an empty room, an awful sitcom is playing out.
Gerald Parker was up, dressed and had breakfasted on what was left of last night’s take-away pizza washing it down with a nearly full glass of red wine he’d found on the living room table. The girl he’d brought home last night had left an hour ago, Katy? Kat? Well… The sex had been all right anyway but Gerald doubted he’d see her again; they had little in common, the small talk, while they picked at the pizza, had been awkward, so the sex was a relief, like a deep breath at the end of a tense situation.
Gerald went to the kitchen and started brewing a cup of tea. He tried to remember to girl’s name, why had he not asked her again? Perhaps because didn’t particularly care. Anyway, he sure it began with a k or a hard c. Kat seemed right, she had a vampish look: black hair, bronzed skin and immaculate make-up, highlighted with silvery tones around her temples and cheekbones. Kat suited her.
I keep falling asleep. Just for a second. It feels like a pleasant morning there is cool air coming in through the open window.
My eyes are getting heavy again, I’m going to nod off again any second. There. I blink myself back into wakefulness. It’s such an odd feeling to be falling asleep while doing something, those strange sensations in your head, a sort of shushing feeling behind your ears and temples, as you start to cross over from being awake to being asleep. Those hypnagogic dreams which incorporate what you happen to be doing at the time. Usually, in my case, reading. What I’m reading takes a surreal twist and often I actively realise I’m dreaming and I shake myself back into wakefulness, I do this when I’m nearing the end of a chapter and I’m determined to finish it. Usually though I have to give up put my bookmark in and place the book back on the table next to bed. Sometimes though, while in a hypnagogic state I just succumb to sleep. Losing my place is tomorrow’s concern.
There is a coolness in the room but even now you get a sense it’s going to be a hot day. I might go into town. I need to buy some beer and wine.
Outside a man has just shouted a cheery hello and a woman responded, almost guiltily, with, I’ve just brought some milk. You could sense the man’s bemusement from here. They both laughed awkwardly.
Yesterday, when I went into my exam the girl invigilating said, you’re Sébastien? I said yes and she took me to my seat. To the boy who came in after me she said, what’s your name please? I sat there wondering how she knew who I was. This happens a lot. And it bothers me, see I like to think that I am anonymous and drift around unnoticed like a ghost or a tourist. Distant. Disconnected. So when people I don’t know or have had little or no contact with know me, well, it always makes me feel kind of strange and puzzled.
The girl sitting across from me on the train yesterday was the influence for Katy/Kat. She was about 20 and looked like she worked on a cosmetics counter in Boots. Her makeup was perfect, with what I now know is called strobing around her cheekbones and temples. Though, her makeup was not like those cosmetic counter girls we saw Boots a while back who looked they were wearing masks because their makeup ended quite distinctly under their chins.