Sunday, November 18, 2012

Insomniac, Part 4

His name can't be Harvey.  It was Harvey in 'American Splendor.'  Great movie.

Harold didn't know how long he sat at the edge of his bed.  He didn't even know why he slept in that bed instead of the good one that his wife left upstairs.  This one sagged and the mattress was four inches thick.  "Upstairs, there is an eighteen inch pillow top mattress with 600 count sheets on it, and I sleep on this piece of crap," he said out loud. He knows why.  That was Anne's room.  Every pillow was in place.  No socks laid on the floor.  No jeans were draped over the chaise.

What's his wife's name?  Anne.  Anne Westminster, a successful name.  He used to joke that she married him for his name.  She used to be Anne Raper.  He always hated that name. Lately, he hated the name he gave her too.  "Anne Raper," he said.

He thought about shambling up the stairs to the kitchen. There would be no coffee.  He forgot to put it on the list.  Anne kept a running list next to the telephone.  It's something that was just like her.  Organized.  "That way, you can just tear the list off the pad when you're on your way out," she used to say.  She said it over and over, as if Harold hadn't heard it the first fifty times she said it. No matter how he tried, he couldn't get it right.  He either forgot to put stuff on the list when he ran out or he forgot to bring the list to the grocery store. 

There would be no coffee and no milk. 

It was Sunday morning at 6:06.  He could go to the store, come back, put away the groceries, and go back to bed before the kids even cracked an eyelid.  He could.  He should.  He should "tear the list off the pad when he was on his way out," he said out loud.  He heard Anne's voice overlay his own.

That was the problem with Anne.  She wasn't gone. She was an earworm, only without the kicky tune.  Her voice ran over and over in his head, a different phrase for every spot he slowed down.  Maybe that was why he slept down here in the second guest room, the one that was the repository for all the stuff he had never managed to put away, all the collected junk that had driven Anne nuts for all those years.  Stacked boxes of his stuff lined the walls.  They formed a wall, in fact, a wall of boxes marked 'Harvey's junk' in Anne's neat handwriting.  Harvey had never gotten around to going through his stuff when she organized and it had ended up down here. 

Harold couldn't remember that Anne had ever put any guests in this room.  She was more likely to put people on the couch in the den.  At least that had the green leather couch, a 52 inch plasma TV, and a faux leopard rug on top of the plush cream carpet. Harvey remembered Anne pacing from one end of the house to the other with the interior designer.  He had never understood why she needed an interior designer. When they talked, he had had trouble figuring out which was the designer and which was the client.  His room was the only one in the house they had never 'treated.'  He didn't know why, but it was a relief. It was why he was there, in that ratty bed with that ratty pillow.

"The house doesn't look so good now," Harold said out loud.  He did that, said things out loud that were running through his head. 

He had gotten five and a half hours of sleep, to bed at 11:38 pm, up at 3:13 am, to bed at 3:57 am to 5:58 am, two minutes before his alarm went off on weekdays.  He counted the hours with his fingers. 

Harvey couldn't remember how long he had been sitting at the edge of his bed.  He clicked on his iPhone.  It was 7:04 on a Sunday morning.  He should be asleep.  He pulled his jeans off the back of the chair and put them on.  He put on the same shirt he wore the day before, the one that had been hanging underneath the jeans.  He grabbed his keys from the fruit bowl by the front door.  He forgot the list.

Thank you for listening, jules

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