04.09.94 > CHICAGO ILLINOIS > 4.13AM
My mind moved through a soup of sullen thoughts as I tried to sleep, but it just wasn’t going to happen: the fucking guy in the bunk below was drowning in fat snores, keeping the whole dorm awake. Cold air filtered down from the jammed-open window above my head in small liquid gusts, chilling the skin I’d left exposed. An air-conditioning duct in the ceiling dripped intermittent droplets of grey oil onto my neck – usually just as I was about to be carried over sleep’s threshold, pushing me back. A horror car alarm screamed through the insomnolent suburbs, a childish melody thwarting a thief but ruining myriad tomorrows. My mattress assumed the shape of my bones, my body sinking, hips and elbows moulding into the lumpy stretcher, heavy with the weight of attempted slumber, though my head, not burdened with dreams, barely grazed the pillow. 4.13am. The distant dawn receded further as the realisation of sleeplessness set like cold porridge. The guy below choked, rolled over, farted and recommenced his slow drown. Dormatory horror. God help me… I staggered out of bed at 1pm the next day with a sick head, fat with a foul, foul cold, my nose an open hydrant that filled handkerchiefs and doused toilet paper wads, sapping my energies with every wet millilitre. I couldn’t hear – my ears were full of thick, swollen muck. I couldn’t see – my eyes welled and teared down my face with sad-clown regularity. My chest coughed up throws of coagulant, splitting my ribs and rattling my brain, adrift from its moorings somewhere inside my pea-sea punching bag head. Ill in Illinois, I returned to my pit, ripped out the nailed wooden blocks holding the window open above the bunk and slammed it shut.