My Dark Room

Welcoming darkness, a shield against the invasive light; I’m exhausted.
Losing my balance, swaying awkwardly, right hand catching a bare wall, left hand struggling to pull off my boot. Soft thumps as they hit the carpet, and more sounds, muffled and soft like fabric that made them as it vanishes from my hands into the darkness and lands somewhere in or around my laundry basket.
My skin’s freshly bare, and so happy to be free that my whole bed feels like it’s been freshly bathed in love and fabric conditioner. Sliding in is easy, and so necessary; everything gentle and warm- a cradle against the light. But, adjusting, head against the pillow I let out a breath of satisfaction and it is dry, and in it I can smell the exorcised corpse of my dinner.
So, against the protestation of weary limbs who had been given their final rest, I slide through the soft sheets, and they all seem to tug at me, to try and keep me there where it’s  dark and dry and safe. Heavy footfalls, creaky door. Fumbling to the left and there’s the light-switch for the bathroom, up by my neck.
Even through the frosted glass, my eyes doth protest and their formally registered complaints arrive neatly as dull, white pain. Cold air from the open window shakes my bare legs and raises hairs on my sides I’d forgotten grew there. My eyelids squint ache from the strain of staying awake like two old soldiers forcing open a pair of portcullises.
The eternity those two minutes of brushing takes is swallowed by the darkness the second I hit the switch again, and with it goes away the muffled complaints of my body reanimated from its eternal rest. Back across the fluffiest carpet in the flat, though that bit less the pleasure the second time around given my feet have adjusted to being out of their boots. Back into the bed, sheets no longer straight and neatly tucked and instead needing a few blind and weary kicks to throw them into some sense of correct order.
Once again, and this time entirely, free to close my eyes I rest my head on the pillow. I rest my head on the pillow. I rest my head slightly higher up the pillow. I turn my head, then my whole body from lying on the right shoulder to my left. I rest my head on the pillow. I turn back. I rest my head on the pillow.
This is ridiculous.
Groping, half-dozing if only through my all-consuming desire to actually get to sleep at some point in the next eight hours, I switch out the pillow with the one from the double bed’s empty space, and I rest my head on that pillow.
Finally, and back again, not the slightest complaint from any limb, not any sources of light, surrounded by fresh-ish sheets and only the occasional car or train outside to break the silence. Through the darkness, sleep finds its way to me.

— Alasdair

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