The thing about the morning is that it can be trusted. It can be trusted to arrive. It can be relied upon to rid you of the oblivion of sleep and the deception of dreams.
I had been awake for quite some time. The bed was warm yet empty of any other. The shower was running, had been running, continued to run. What type of person spent so long under water? Obviously, the type of person I appeared to share my bed with.
This morning, I stayed in my pseudo sleep. I had the duvet pulled up over my head with just enough of a vent to allow me to breath properly. On the bedside cabinet, always a funny phrase as I imagined politicians standing by, watching me and making plans for the future, was the clock. It stared blankly back and its hands offered no indication of the exact hour or minute. I timed my mornings by the other person who was now engaged in a drawn-out affair with the warmth of falling water.
She, I think it’s a she. I have a belief that it’s not a he. I think it’s a she because of the perfume. I think that I am married and I have a distant memory of children, but I can’t picture them or remember their names. I know that men can marry each other, that women can marry each other, but I think that I am a man who is married to a woman. Yet, for the life in me I cannot remember her face, or her name. Perhaps I should go to the bathroom door and enquire. That wouldn’t be wrong, would it?
I knocked gently to no reply. I could hear the steady stream of water pulsing beyond the door. Whoever was in the shower was standing there, allowing endless rivulets to cascade upon their nakedness. I knocked again, more loudly this time, and something changed. The hiss of the shower remained but now it wasn’t hitting bare skin; that had moved away. I waited before returning to the bedroom. On the bedside cabinet was a mug of tea steaming into air.
Time has a habit of hiding. It chooses its moments to make an entrance and slips away unnoticed. And so it did.
I found myself on the streets again. A tableau of traffic littered the scene. Lights were shining white and read and orange. Vague outlines of pedestrians moved along on the opposite pavement, their heads bowed against the murk and morning. This was the hardest time of year. What they called Christmas had disappeared and now there would be months of cold darkness before the respite of sudden sunshine.
“How’s the world treating you?”
“Like a stranger at the door,” was my reply. And yet it was not my reply.
The man in the kiosk looked at me.
“Are you sure that you were meant to say that?”
I wanted to reply, but forgot what I wanted to say.