Thursday, January 17, 2013

Insomniac, Part 16

Harold woke up in a hospital room. He couldn't remember falling asleep again in his bathroom but he couldn't remember getting where he was either. His head hurt. He thought maybe it was the pale teal walls and the pink cabinets that hurt. It should hurt, that color, even if there was something else that was going on with his head. He closed his eyes.

Harold woke up in a different hospital room, more upright than he'd been before. This room was pale yellow and blue, nauseating, but at least it didn't make his head hurt. The television was on. SpongeBob. Even in the hospital, he couldn't escape SpongeBob.

His phone rang. It was lying on a little table holding a tray with turkey, congealed gravy, and little gray pieces of broccoli stems and carrots. Someone had eaten part of it. Harold looked at the ringing phone and thought, for about the hundredth time, how the ringtone ruined Stevie Ray Vaughn no matter how much he loved that song.

He couldn't reach the little table with the used food and the phone. Something held his neck straight so he had to move his eyes in exaggerated ways. It felt to him that he was in a silent film, trying to express some deep desire, yet no one watched. Charlie Chaplin, with his black eye-liner, was dead.

Harold lay still for a minute. The phone went silent. He couldn't hear anything from another room because of the commercial for the scooter.

"Are you having trouble getting to the bathroom by yourself?"

'Yes, I am,' he said and fell into a deep sleep, like drowning in cotton wool and warm water.

Thank you for listening, jules

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