On the second floor I’d open my eyes, at the sound of the postman’s motorbike left ticking over, propped on the kerb as he rushes around the block dispatching the letters, the distant roar from the expressway at times resembled the whoosh of a tide pulling away from the shore. Upstairs the woman had begun to beat the dust out her mattress, slung like a corpse over the edge of her verandah. The ferocity of the pounding she gave it hinted perhaps at some earlier quarrel, maybe with her husband or child. The building almost shook such was the force that she used to beat it. The tree around our buildings shrine nearly fell over last night the wind blew so hard, and the bell ringing in the wind had kept me awake. I thought back to my mornings when I was a child, the energy I had when I awoke, nowadays it’s somewhere between reticence and lethargy, I find that whenever I make these comparisons in my age I feel to some extent that I’ve been robbed of some familiarity with myself. Who could have committed this theft?, I wonder to myself, perhaps it was some institution. Thinking it over further, there were plenty of blanks in my memory of myself, a feeling of vulnerability came over me, at age 41, I think I’ve come to the realization that I’ve grown to be a stranger to myself.
When I was young I felt that when I had reached some non-specific age that I would have acquired mannerisms that would’ve made me immune to these feelings, a barrier perhaps, a defence mechanism that was so natural I wouldn’t have the need to summon it, it would be, just there. Laying in bed, with my eyes open I saw the second hand and the minute hand both move at the same time over the number six on the clock, I exhaled. Mornings and vulnerability, my hand brushed against the ridge of the body lying next to mine, still still, still sleeping.
The passing of time sometimes would take a revenge of sorts on me in the mornings back then, a dreadful lingering feeling of sickness, that would take what would feel like some hours to leave me, my body too weak to refuse it, would simply submit to it, let it have its way with me. This sickness brought me some benefit I’d have to admit it, things that in my healthier hours would act like mental partitions would fall away or dissolve, giving me access to certain mindscapes that I had not visited for what felt like a long time. Although feeling a familiarity to these places, the absence of any inhabitants gave back their appearance of being a virginal territory. In this place I pictured myself in the truest sense for the first time since childhood, my sense of alienation with myself was gone. I touched my face, I inhaled, I felt the warmth on my face, I heard sounds, but these were mere glimpses.