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.
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.
Channing and Melissa were kissing intensely 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.
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.