Save The Life Of My Child
Rosie calls me to wake up. I am incredibly hung over and my breath reeks. It’s sunny, it’s winter, I’m being deceived, and everything is not coming up. I have my interview today for the editor job, but I’m too un-prepared. I run into the shower, soaping myself down. I cannot feel anything today, I am a broken machine. I recount last night, and try and remember if I did anything wrong or said the wrong thing. I successfully pulled off the impression that I was having a good time.
Dressing quickly, I walk into the kitchen. Papers, cigarette packets, empty cans, a half-eaten Pizza, dishes that need scrubbing, a squished spider, and a jumper. It’s too much, I gulp down some water and leave as fast as I can. I run out of the house, and play let it be on full blast on my iPod. I walk past people who know I am hung over, I think. They know, and I know, I am a mess. My eyes are blurred, and the sun hurts me. The cold is comforting because I can feel it. The ticket guy eyes me as he always does, knows my game, sad kid, problems to come.
I take the long route round to the platform, I have to keep moving. If I stop my brain will collapse. I light a cigarette as I walk and my heart beat stars going mad. I stop and check my beating muscle machine as it pumps and pumps. I’m dying, or about to die. Aneurysm scare flashes in my mind, and I beg my veins to keep intact, do not pull a sicky. Getting to the platform, I walk fast. Some girls stare at me, and I know, they know, sad, sad, ugly, ugly. I make it to the end of the platform. I see a girl from last night, taking a selfie, I want to ask her to check my pulse. I cannot. I try to read my book but everything blurs. The words do not make sense, and my beating heart races. I run my hands through my hair, and shift on the spot. I must move. I think about calling home, defeat.
The train comes, I get on, find a seat. Let it be fills the carriage. I re-check my pulse. I’m still alive. It’s a disaster of a day, and it’s only ten forty. I have not eaten, will not eat, only smoke and drink coffee. I will go out tonight again. Again, again, it ruffles my brain, and I pray that it will change. I read a bit of my writing from yesterday. I cannot concentrate, it does not read well, and I fear I am plugging at something I cannot do. I imagine myself signing a book and it helps. My pulse eases, my veins flow. I think I’ve lost it, and then I think I’m a rich boy with no problems. I have GCSE’s and A Levels and something of a degree, I will be okay and my life will all pan out well. I will live like a Sims character, daily routine with promotions. It will work out, bills will get paid, dogs and children bought and raised, I will be married and will resist having an affair. Alzheimer's will guide me into death. Life looks good. I think about writing in my notebook and jotting down speckles of ideas, but there is nothing to write. I check my Facebook and people continue to exist.
The train arrives at the station. I walk through the people to my interview. I will need to make an impression of some kind. I will need to do an impression of myself, the kind that I have imagined. Impersonate yourself and you will survive. The History department are on strike and I wonder if they have too many essays to mark. Life is a strike. Am I a disappointment for not joining in? Or do they not care? I’m a vessel with muscle, skin, hair, nails, lips, genitals. I can be created anytime. Maybe I should write that down? But I have no pen, just a lighter and my Lucky Strikes.
I walk into the union building. Someone says hi! and I say hello, but they were talking to someone else. The editor job is a step in the right direction and it will help me. It’s part of writing.
Hey Brother is playing in the student common room and the beat makes my heart race again. The alcohol is pumping in me, and my liver is a worn out housewife too tired and owned to complain. Up the stairs, there are posters about rape, consent, drugs, alcohol, bullying. What it does not say is that society rapes you daily, and the drugs alcohol are what gets you through. Outside of the media room office, there are people. A girl who I spoke to in first year is there, she’s wearing a red roll neck, a denim jacket, and white trouser and purple pumps. An outfit to hide a boring personality, it’s a good distraction. She smiles and I half smile knowing how ridiculous I must look. I am sweating and I smell of beer. Poor boy, poor boy. My brain hurts and I want to stroke it better. But it throbs and nauseates me. I am having an aneurysm. I know it, soon I will pop open, and spread out on the floor, they may give me the job out of sympathy. I need to call someone. I need help.
A dart into a corner and dial 999. A man answers.
‘Would you like fire, ambulance, or police?’
‘Ambulance, I think I am having an aneurysm’.
I hear a shuffle of papers and someone asks the man if he’d like anything from the co-op. Radio 1 is playing in the background.
‘I’m just waiting to connect you’.
‘I am having an aneurysm.’
‘Just putting you though’.
I hear a click and a female voice with a regional accent talks.
‘Hello’. She is chewing gum.
‘Hello, I am having an aneurysm. I need help’.
‘Do you have a headache?’
‘Are you being sick?’
I check the floor around me.
‘Do you feel like dizzy’?
‘I can’t feel anything.’
‘Right, well it doesn’t sound to me like you’re having an aneurysm. On our chart of 1 – 5 emergency, you’ve just got a headache.’
I try and swallow to get my words out, but there’s no saliva left. Someone is eyeing me up thinking that I’m mad.
‘So what can I do?’
‘Take a paracetamol’.
‘I need an ambulance, please’.
The phone clicks off and I am left with nothing and no one.
I go into the toilet and sit down and put my head in my hands. Someone next to me is leaking.
I take out my notebook and try and write. Unusual circumstance. Nothing flows, it never does.
I go back to the media office and ask where the interviews are taking place. The girl shuffles her papers and tells me they are next week, not today. I say thanks.
Back out on campus I sit down. People are chatting, smoking, drinking coffee. It’s the best three years of your life I’m told. But I do not chat, smoke, or drink coffee. I sit, rubbing my head, praying for something to happen.