Thursday, May 9, 2013

Insomniac, Part 26

Harold took a deep breath, sighed, and walked out of the bathroom. He might never understand that feeling he got there, the way some people said someone had just walked over their grave. What was that saying for anyway?

On his way to the front door, Harold went to the fridge, opened it, stared at the collection of food there, dumped a container of enchiladas that wasn't bad yet but he knew no one would eat, and grabbed a bag of grapes. Sasha wouldn't beg if he brought grapes. Sasha stood quietly behind him as if she still didn't believe a walk was in store. He might have a leash in his hand, but they'd gone outside and come back in with it. He turned and nearly fell over her on his way to the door.

Before he clicked the front door closed, he patted the lump in his pocket where his keys were. He thought about driving, but felt like the neighbors might be able to see him parking his car at the bottom of the hill. The problem with living in the city was that you could feel watched if you thought about it for very long. Harold knew that when he hadn't gotten enough sleep too many days in a row, he felt watched more often. Little problems made him anxious. Had he paid this month's rental on Hilly's clarinet? Did Victoria really think the hair that grew on his back was disgusting? Should he try to have it waxed? Would he get into a cycle of having it ripped out and then scratching at it with the ladle when it grew back in? Those kind of things got to him when he hadn't slept. Did other people worry about this stuff too?

"Fuck other people," he said out loud. It didn't work. He still worried if he was doing what most other people were doing. He looked around, wondering if anyone had heard him talking to himself.

Sasha paced around him. It was annoying, but maybe standing at his closed door and staring at his car was annoying to her too. Sasha always got the short end of the stick. When they got busy, she didn't get a walk. Sometimes Harold forgot to feed her until the afternoon. He clicked the leash onto her collar and headed down the short driveway, turning right down the hill.

Harold felt the click in his left knee as he walked down the hill. He'd knew he'd be heaving as he walked back up it later. He hated how that might look to someone watching him out their window. He was always vaguely sweaty when he got back up the hill to his house. He wondered if going down the hill was pushing him closer to knee surgery. Roger had had knee surgery. That thing was ugly. He didn't want to have knee surgery if he could help it, but was that click he felt going down the hill an indication that he was going in that direction?

Harold was never sure.

He noticed he must have spilled some coffee on his jacket. There was a long narrow brown mark there. He wished he didn't always have some kind of food or another on the front of his shirt. Picking at it didn't work. It never did.

Thank you for listening, jules


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