Friday, 29 March 2013

Notes Under the Doorway

At 7:02am it was completely dark; by 7:08am it was completely light, sun high and buoyant. The time on the clock hovered, changed and blurred. My eyes felt strange. I felt heavy, like I'd woken at 6am but it was actually 6pm and I'd slept the day away. But it wasn't 6pm. It was 7:08am. I was confused.

I rode my bicycle to work, squinting at shapes as though I was new in the world.

In the evening, I decided to cycle home a different way from work. I cycled through a car park that led to a busy street full of restaurants. I could smell curry and a sweet, heavy scent that seemed to invade the air and stand there, unmoving, while I cycled through it, my legs spinning and straining against its weight. There were men sitting on the chairs that crowded the pavement, talking loudly, drinking tiny cups of coffee. A cat sat in a window, watching. There were children running, holding brightly coloured ice-cream cones. The sky was orange, then purple. I cycled past a hospital I'd never seen before.

I was hopelessly lost. The sky turned from purple to grey, and, as I cycled, night fell down around me like a heavy curtain. I panicked. Eventually I found my way and cycled back through the car park, no lights on my bike, unable to see the ground in front of me. I felt fear rise up inside me until I could taste it.

Then a tiny voice in the darkness.

When I got home, I found a note from you under the doorway. It was a blue cartoon comic strip featuring superheroes and villians. You wrote eloquently and informally of formal matters; I didn't understand your tone or your intention. I was late, but I wrote you back a letter full of bad handwriting and clumsy phrasing. I told you about the car park and the darkness. I walked to your doorway on the floor above mine and slid my note under the little gap by the floor. I could see the light from your room pooling out to the hallway, but it stopped just before it could illuminate my feet.

I walked back down to my room and looked at the clock. Outside the night pushed into the windows but didn't get in. Inside, by the light of a lamp, I lay and thought about the orange-purple sky and your blue superhero, until about half an hour had passed, and I heard the little shuffling sound of a note being pushed under my door.

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