My room whooshes something awful, like an incoming thunderstorm bantering about up against the clouds. It’s the fault of the heater; our heat lives housed in Lindsay’s closet, and one of its ugly grated maws lies not a yard from the head of my bed. The mighty bellows of heat’s tin home are our shared burden here on the backside of the apartment, and each gust of preserving wind is accompanied without fail by a similar rushing and clattering of air on metal on metal on air.
It is not quite the same as the way my room breathes through the back window, that’s for certain. This is like life on a ventilator… same stale air brushing in to inflate and out to deflate, leaving me lukewarm and half alive in the meantime. That’s about right, though, because today i have only used up half of a life, as if i am carefully rationing the discarded halves and thirds into my empty bottom dresser drawer so that one day i can be larger than life itself. Half a life like clams on a half shell, and i greedily suck it down and toss it away.
Nights have all been the same lately… sick with two different kinds of pressure welling up behind my jaw and in my stomach, and then curled tight around a sheaf of pages, and then restlessly nudging my head over the top of my mattress so i can see out of my window as i fall asleep — nothing as romantic as stars or any of that, but to spy on my across that back neighbor. I would think he could catch on by now, my prying eyes digesting his slim back and swirling tattoo like prime-time teevee, but he would appear to be none the wiser; still sleeping with the light on despite shades being drawn. I can see through to his slim circumstance as long as there’s some light to guide me. Anyhow, his dog has got me made … he knows the game. I stare at the owner as he sits and listens to whatever it is whose echoes i can hear across the alley, and in exchange i sit framed by my half-sized back window in just my underwear and thrash like mad as those beady canine eyes follow the supple muscle of my right arm up down up down. We have traded… my posed voyeurism in measured doses for glances into his owner’s life, undisguised … and unrealized, as of now.
I’m not sure exactly what i’m looking for, or at; the lithe nude that hides inside those baggy pants and shabby blinds is seemly to-be-sure, but not worth the effort i put forth to capture it backwards and upside-down inside the workings of my squinting eyes. I suspect that i am looking for something other than what i have: a life on the half-shell, waiting to slither down another gaping maw. And, it does, night after night — all the life i left unused mingles with the sweaty breathing of the heater just a few scant feet from my head to leave my room a sort of dewy warm in the morning when my alarm first rings at 5:27. Heat and life, to wake me. Of course, it isn’t really 5:27 because time is my false illusion — a special effect that is all too real. But, i have disguised it, and it gets me to and from my nest of decades old blankets that obscure the sheets on my bed at least three times before i’m up and about on any given morning. Four this morning past. I don’t mind it really, because i’m up in time to pick up a piece or two of my decrepit morning routine, and the once-every-fifty-minutes blare of my alarm slices my dreams into acidic little orangey wedges that i can devour one by one, only to leave behind dreamy sucked-out citrus smiles in my wake.
I dream the same old thing every night, and i don’t know why i bother to savour it anymore. I suppose it’s just part of that latherrinserepeat of my daily half-life, my waiting to see how long it takes whatever’s at my core to degrade down to just a phosphorescent echo of the radiant glow it once put out. Lather in the day, rinse out anything i was beginning to care about in the evening, and at night sleep and repeat.
It is time, my friends, to sleep and repeat.