I woke up with a crashing fear, a pain that told me everything everywhere around me was falling at the infinite speed of light. I’m covered in a feverish sweat, and my body pains with an unfamiliar feeling. Immediately I am taken back to a scene, my dispart from the hospital, an unsettling reminder of the frailty in my existence.
I’m surrounded by pill bottles, unscheduled painkillers scratching at my feet, each making threatening glances. Bits and pieces, hollow points from the night, incandescent blurs are all I remember.
There’s a lamp in pieces on the floor beside me, its light shining through a crushed shade, casting flickering creases into a ceiling fan I’m fixated upon. Just trying to get my bearings. Not quite on my feet, a hand wrapped stiffly around a 15 year Balvenie, another desperately trying to establish a sense of balance.
I come to my feet, a primal urge for cigarettes quickly taking over, soon accompanied by the sharp pains of hunger. “One step at a time”, I remind myself.
It’s dark outside, but I’m not quite sure whether it’s morning or night, they’ve all been melting together lately. Lighting a cigarette, pulling in a gentle buzz, staring down at the city lights below. I’m not entirely sure where I am, but the air is clean and it’s certainly one of the nicer places I’ve ever laid waking eyes upon.
My hands chill in the open air, and I’m drawn back inside by a burning sensation between my legs. The piss is relieving, but I’m caught off guard daydreaming shapes in the plaster wall and slip head first into the cabinet over the toilet. My arm plunges deep into the bowl, catching my fall with a painful jerk of my shoulder. Sitting here on the bathroom floor, an arm soaked in piss, I think I’m sober now.
Washing my arm off in the sink, I splash a bit of water on my face which triggers a sort of burning sensation under my right eye.
“This is my life”, Alice squeezes a black notebook in her arms, “Get your own!”
I’m accustomed to this ritual now. We’ll roll around in a playful fit, reaching for each others words on paper, till one of us gives in or all the rolling around on the floor leads to sex. Neither was indicative of the actual quality of the work in question. In the end we’d wind up on the couch, Alice outstretched on my lap deep in thought at the meaning of my work, my own mind preoccupied looking for myself in hers.
“Is this what you pictured us like?”, Alice shuffles through pages in one of my notebooks.
“Not the story, us“, she caught my stutter.
“Oh.”, I let the question hang for a moment, “No, I don’t think so”
Sitting up to look me in the face, “Do you think we’ll change?”
I sat on the edge of the bed for a few moments, taking in my thoughts, popping a few aspirins with choking gulps of Balvenie Scotch. “Whose life am I living now anyways…”, muttering between shallow gulps and tears, holding myself at a slight distance from an inner discreet sense of pain.
I put my head back, tracing patterns in the stucco ceiling. My name here, her name there, faces of shallow memories engraved everywhere. I’m not in an absolute pit of disrepair, not while my shoes are still on at least, and that is enough of a reason to get out of this place.
I threw the small bit of belongings I traveled with into a green satchel bag that hung in a dreary state from my shoulder. Not bothering to put out the burning cigarettes in the ashtray by the bed, letting the door slam closed behind me, “Fuck this place”.