A Morning in the Life of Many Ordinary People
Five - Matthew
My head feels pretty bad when I try to open my eyes. Try being the operative word. I can barely see. I think it's still dark but it's pretty hard to tell with these eyes that don't seem to be connected to the rest of me. I don't feel like any of my body is connected at all, is it even mine at all? I can't tell. My body could be scattered all over the bottom of the ocean and I'd be none the wiser right now.
I close my eyes again, or at least I think I do. I lay still for a few minutes, thinking, before I attempt to open my eyes once more, and this time it works. The sky is everywhere; it's the deep purpley blue of early morning, maybe 4 or 5am. From somewhere in my mind I dredge up that it's summer, but my body still feels cold. Maybe that's why I don't feel much. Why I seem to have lost all feeling. I suddenly register that someone is singing softly somewhere nearby where I am lying, and playing a guitar. It's alt-J, Breezeblocks. It's a girl's voice, wait no, it's not just any girl, it's Amy. I look over and I see her, sitting on the edge of the building. Wait, building? Oh yeah, it suddenly all comes flooding back. We had a party the rooftop above the flat we share last night. That's why I can see the sky everywhere. And why I'm so cold.
With my head steadily throbbing gently, creating a shimmery pulsating vibe to everything I see around me, I sit up. I am surrounded by blankets and pillows and other sleeping deeply breathing people. I want Amy closer to me, that's all I can think right now. So I stand carefully, feeling my legs return to me from the bottom of the ocean along with my head, and I stumble over all the people, to her, across the flat concrete surface of the roof. She's singing the last few verses of the song. "Please don't go, I'll eat you whole."
I keep walking over to her. She hasn't noticed me yet. "I love you so, I love you so I love you so." She has always been this way, whenever she's playing or singing it's just her and the music. It's all she sees, it's all that exists to her. I sit on the ground, a little way back from her, and listen to the end of the song. I know she won’t want to stop, especially so near to the end, and besides, I love to listen to her. So I wait. Like I always seem to. That's Amy, she's an expert at keeping people waiting. Always late for every meeting and appointment and lunch date and party, always taking her time, always leaving people hanging. She plays the last few notes, and then it's quiet, aside from the occasional car passing by below us. It may be 5am but cities don’t ever seem to sleep. If cities were people they would be insomniacs; never still, never at rest, always doing something somewhere within themselves.
I look at Amy, and she's looking at me. I feel self-conscious, run my hand through my hair and look away, but she reaches her hand out and pulls my face back to look at hers. "No," she says softly, "No, I want to see your face right now." I couldn't put into words how long I have been wanting to hear her say that. I couldn't ever express it with enough of the meaning, with enough of myself. But I force myself to turn my face away, and out of her hand. All I can see in my mind is her with other people, prettier cooler better people, and I can't ever be them.
"No." I echo that word, but my voice is different to hers, hollow. Her hand drops away. She doesn't move for a while, she just sits there, still holding her guitar but not playing anything. Then she puts the guitar down, resting it on a few of the cushions we scattered out on the concrete floor, and scoots closer to me on the side of the building. She rests her head on my shoulder. And I know, I know I should get up and leave, right now, but I can't. So I just sit with her, our legs dangling off of the side of this building, and I know I should be scared but I'm not. Mostly I'm just glad that her head is on my shoulder, and trying not to be as glad as I am about it, because I know this isn’t real. I know I should move away, like I did when she touched my face, but I'm not sure I can replicate the mammoth effort that took. Not now.