Friday, December 14

A Thankfully Brief Period of Time

Very seldom am I off work with illness, but this week I was so weak and dizzy that I felt I had no choice but to call in sick. Fortunately I was visiting my parents at the weekend. I think I caught something off my niece, who was subsequently taken to hospital and diagnosed with something that sounded like bronchitis but wasn’t. My mother told me—‘Call in sick!’ and in the end I listened to her. After a couple of hours my boss called me and spoke without pause of all the tasks he wanted me to action. When I told him I was sick, he said—‘Fuckin hell!’ and paused. Regardless, I needed to do something so I worked for a couple of hours. I was very hungry and had to check my words many times because my mind was foggy. Afterwards I lay down in front of a film with a terrible child actor. I was just drifting to sleep when my phone went. He was in a meeting and everyone could hear me. I had to go back to the computer and do some work.
The next day I figured it would be easier to go in. My mother gave me a lift to the station and my niece was in the car. She was in a good mood. When she’s in a good mood, she is the most wonderful little being. She sat in her car-seat, stroked her hair behind her ears, the sun through the window, asking questions and rehearsing her lines for the nativity play she would perform later; she struggled with the word ‘Gabriel.’
When I got into the office some hours later my boss came up to me, and ran through what had been happening the past few days, then said that there was a presentation. In the afternoon I had to present. My whole body was trembling and I was perspiring. The architect from C— was there and I nodded in her direction, facing her somewhat like a sundial, and remembered the evening we spent together. She always glowed. She was like an angel sitting on the supermarket shelf. I found it very easy to be with her, not like many other people.
The office Christmas party was that evening. Originally I had planned to not attend, but I was fed up and had been sober for two days, so I went along. After half an hour they asked me to sort out the music, so I played what I wanted and enjoyed that. It pleased me to inflict upon everyone my taste in music. Time disappeared and although I felt terrible I drank and drank. I was the last to leave. I walked some of the way with my friend, and then the rest of the way home along quiet streets, but so drunk was I that I remember not a moment of it. The alarm would not go off, but I awoke during the night at the rattle of my blinds. In my drunken haste, I had not closed the window. Cold air shook in off the wind and my room was so frozen. I brought the sheets up to underneath my chin. I would not dare to get up and close it. In fact, there was a certain pleasure I found in the chill of room towards the warmth of my bed. When I was finally up and able to confront the light of day, it was blue and bright, as cold as I had dreamed but there was nowhere else to go.

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