Morning Rituals

You wake up one morning to the sound of your roommate’s – well, your wall-mate’s – phone buzzing. It is a half-organic, half-metallic sound, a swarm of robot honeybees. You put your ear to the wall. It keeps going and going, too rhythmic to be organic.┬áBut too arrhythmic to be automated, like a phone. You walk through the bathroom, poke your head in. The buzzing is still there, but it sounds farther away. Your wall-mate looks like she is sleeping, anyway.

You go back to your room. You’re certain the buzzing is coming from a different side of the wall. You put on pants, go out of the room, up the stairs, press your ears to the floor. Certainly it’s there, in the floor, in the ceiling of your room. You go back down to your room, stand on the bed, put your ear to the ceiling – certainly, it’s coming from the wall. You go back to your wall-mate’s. She is no longer in her bed. The covers have not moved.

You are tired. You stop, groggy-eyed, in the bathroom. You wash your hands, and the water goes down very slowly. You had gotten a drain-catcher, so that hair would not get stuck in the sink and keep the water from going down. But now the hair is stuck in the drain-catcher, so the water is not going down. Your hair is short.

You go to lay back down in the bed. Across your pillow, a stripe of light falls, right where your eyes go. You move the pillow down. The stripe follows. Outside, someone starts a lawn-mower.

It is very hot in the room, and there is no dial for the heat settings. Your bed is right next to the heater. You open the window, the world outside crisply frozen, flurries falling in. The heater blows on, melts the flurries as they enter. The temperature balances. Outside, a blue jay screeches its half-metallic, half-organic sound. The buzzing in the wall begins again. You close the window, and the screech subsides. It gets very hot; the buzzing grows louder. You open the window. The blue jay sings like a creaking, ungreased swingset.

Between the buzzing and the breeze, the screeching and the stripe of light, you close your eyes and ears. The room drifts away. Your wall-mate’s alarm goes off. She is not home. Her door is locked.

8 months ago

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