He wakes up alone, as he has done for fifty-five consecutive mornings. But it is different this time. The feel of the air, the emptiness, the texture and smell of the environs. He has been here before, repeatedly, and almost always alone. But this is different. Everything is different.
There is no reason to get up. No reason in the world. Dreams are more appealing somehow. This is all but unprecedented, echoes of a wedge-shaped room bedecked with posters and pictures of ineffably distant faces offering mild support and outstretched hands. The soft sad derision of a one-time friend, slinging a shoulder bag in a picture of hurried productivity, shaking his head as he charges out the too-thin rickety door. A roommate. A roommate. The echoes plink down the caverns of memory like a musical pebble. Playing “Moonlight Sonata” or perhaps “Taps”.
Back and forth, left and right, light on both sides, the strange overlarge pillow offering infinite patience as the dreams remain out of reach. They are less scary, less haunting, less true. They will not come back. There is only the dirge-like shuffle of time in its plod, the hard roll of the streetcar, the loungey traverse of the aimless local down the sidewalk. Step, pause, step, pause, step. Living in steps, in hapless direction, in picking up one leaden ankle to put it in front of the other for no particular purpose.
Everybody feels the wind blow. You don’t spit into the wind. The wind has been my friend, my ally, trusted and sure, but it is a force of nature and not to be trifled with. The wind, like time, chooses a direction and points unrelenting, offers assistance in one way but only angst in the other. You can fight it, fight them both, fight everything in your path. But you’re going to lose. You’re going to lose.
I’ve been here before and I deserve a little more.