Insomnia; not for the faint hearted

Frank – Episode Three

April 3, 2014 6:15 pm

The difficulty isn’t with getting off the bed or with cold air crawling against my puckered skin. Nor is it with trying to compute why I’m naked in this hotel room; after a while, waking up in your own bed is the strangest thing.

As I creep to my feet the room catches up with my eyes and I’m sure time is fucking with me, because everything is slower than how fast I move. I turn my face towards a thud and wait for the falling syringe to catch up with itself. The clock on my wrist tells me it’s just past four in the morning, with its face next to my ear I can hear the collage of turning cogs and hands ticking with the accompanying whisper of voices. Get. A. Fu – cking. Grip. It’s incessant like a bad high, telling me everything I already know and gave up caring about.

I force my lead-heavy legs to the window and light a cigarette. My reflection in the glass is just as scary as the images echoing in my mind. A car pulls up in the hotel car park, I know because I hear it. I search my arm for a clear patch of skin and stub the bulb of the cigarette on it. The headlights of a car illuminate my frame like a lighthouse and pulls into view. The smell of burning skin is pungent and unique and I think I know I must be asleep somewhere because I feel nothing. No pain. Everything outside is a nothingness-black which accentuates the ghost of a woman who appears in the reflection of the window. As I swallow the smoke I stub my arm again. It’s like touching a scar, you know you’re doing it and you still feel nothing.

The woman sits on the edge of the bed and throws her towel to the floor. Her reflection is skewed from the bowing glass and makes her look short and fat. She’s petit next to a gargantuan Frank who jumps on her lap, at least my nightmares have a sense of humour. Her hair is wet and dark, curls falling over her left … no, her right shoulder and matches the mound of hair between her opening legs. I turn around and throw a cigarette to her as she mouths what I already heard. Frank jumps off her lap and tanks toward me with his tail wagging. You ever seen a Staffordshire Bull Terrier with glowing eyes? Nightmares can ruin everything. He jumps up, resting his two front paws on my thighs, and stretches. He looks at me. I look into him. I breath deeply and look away because I think I saw his soul and either I’m hallucinating or he just laughed at me and ambles away. I ask the woman who she is. She laughs. She tells me whoever I want her to be and I tell her to fuck off. She doesn’t reply with words, instead she just stares at me with inquisitive eyes. I think I’d rather words because her eyes are like familiar syringes pumping visions into my veins. Visions or flashbacks. Denial is the best concept the mind ever made. She asks me what I’m talking about but I can’t answer because I didn’t know I was talking. She tells me I owe her fifty quid and inhales the last drag of her cigarette. I look around the room and nod to my jeans.

“It’s empty”, she says, and jumps off the bed. She is still the same height as she was when she was on it and she tells me to fuck off. My laugh catches up with me. She spits that I can either pay her cash or I can pay her kind, and since she knows I have no cash or cards she’d like it if my face swiftly disappeared. I look at her. She looks into me. My eyes are painted black.

A person can find tranquility in the most destructive of situations where another can’t even open their eyes. Peace. Just like time, just like art, like love, life and just like death. It’s subjective. The people who claim to have the answers to a life worth living know nothing of life itself. Whatever it takes to survive in this shit hole we call earth is what life is all about. Survival. Behind the layers of social inequalities and personal anxieties we’re all just the same eating, shitting and sex hungry archetypes we were two million years ago. The only difference between then and now? Denial. Denial of self and denial to admit. Someone, somewhere, is being pissed on.

The absence of light is calming. I no longer hear the carefree playing of children or see the delayed trails of misplaced time. I’m home. I’m fulfilled. I feel and I have meaning and clarity and everything in the world just, feels, right. Somebody, somewhere, is having sex with an animal. You ever see visions when you listen to music? A vision so detailed you’re convinced it’s a memory, or a wish? Piano Sonata Number 14 in C-Sharp Minor. Every note attached to a fibre in your body and as it plays, you play. Each strike of a key is a beat of your heart and you’re naked and red and filled with hope and belonging and no longer do you feel alone and scared. No longer are you misunderstood and chastised or debased by your peers and your colleagues, your parents. Your wife. And those cruel, cruel children with their putrid honesty. And as each note plays, you live in your red vision of life and you’re the one in control. You’re the pied piper playing your tune in C-Sharp Minor.

Piano Sonata Number 14 slows to a close and the steamy absence of light clears from the mirror. In the reflection of this mirror I see myself. I’m splattered red like a Pollock canvas. Tobacco and tin food, but more of the tin than the food, that’s all I taste. I try to move my eyes but they disobey me, they’re overwhelmed and enamoured at what they see. Who am I to ruin their moment because my heart is alive. My breath is strong and steady and I hear the fibres of my body play out but I know it’s just the ghost of what it was.

As I pull back, my reflection distorts. Like in those mirrors you get at a funfair. I grow smaller the further away I get until my naked torso is minutely framed and doubled inside her wide brown eyes. She looks at me exquisitely. Still and calm. No longer inquisitively but equipped with the answer to the question she once had. Control. The more you let go the more you retain and she looks happy. I call out to Frank. My lips move with my words. I exhale and close my eyes. I call out to Frank. I embed her face in my mind. She looks peaceful. I shout for Frank. I hear an off note. Peace. Is there such a thing? Even in death? My tune abruptly ends, leaving a trailing note of C Major. I raise onto my knees, her body between my legs, and look over the room. I stalk into the bathroom and find Frank hanging from the curtain rail with a note attached to his collar. His legs are kicking out. His wind pipes squark in desperation. On the note is a telephone number. Do dogs really go to heaven? Frank is heavy. I lay him down on the floor but he insists on standing and licking my legs. Dogs. No matter what you do they’re happy just to be loved. Someone, somewhere, is fucking with me. I pick up the receiver and start to punch the numbers from the note, slowing down the further I get. I frown and look at Frank.

The difficulty, like I said, isn’t with anything other than the fact that I’ve already seen tonight happen. I close my eyes and breathe and my body shakes. Not through fear or adrenaline. Not from the cold air hitting my wet legs. Not because there is a dead midget in my hotel room and I’m covered in blood. I shake because the number in the note is the number to my flat.

About Me

Passionately artistic and perfectionist. Mental health activist and fellow sufferer of severe anxiety and low self esteem; it's time to rid the shame. Owner of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Ty and a cat called Ella - Tolerate isn't the right word, but it's the only word that springs to mind. Lover of next-day-pizza, coffee and red wine, not necessarily in that order.