Go to Sleep, Go to Sleep
The smell of damp, decaying wood and mildew proliferates the air; the stale, malodorous stench wafting unpleasantly throughout the entire building, permeating every inch and corner of the two-tier with its foul, obnoxious presence. It’s even more pungent than usual, amplified by the relentless rain and fog—that and perhaps the late hour of the night.
Thunder roars in the sky above, rolling and clashing amidst the heavy storm, the acute sound booming in my ears as if it’s coming from just a few feet away instead of thousands of miles outside. The sequence of loud cracks aren’t even slightly muffled, thanks to paper-thin walls and a faulty foundation.
Several droplets permeate the questionable roofing, trickling through the low ceiling and falling on to the unfinished floors, creating muddy streaks in their wake.
The pitter-patter sound of rain against a lone window clashes with my footsteps. Constant wet splatters hit the cracked glass that’s now caked in precipitation, drenching its disintegrating pane.
The incessant downpour is broken up by bright flashes of lightning, irregular fluorescent strips glowing intermittently against the backdrop of the blue-black night just before their accompanying bouts of thunder interject like the chorus of a lullaby.
I stumble up creaky, termite-eaten stairs, placing one tired foot in front of the other up way too many steps until I finally reach the top. I walk past several doors, coming to stand in front of the one I’ve called mine for the last three months.
My shoulders slump and the muscles beneath them deflate, barely able to bear the weight of my bag. I bring my forehead against the chipped barrier, leaning against it in exhaustion. I sluggishly fish for my keys in my pocket, bringing them up to dangle between my cold, rigid fingers as I fumble to find the one for the old, rusty lock staring back at me. The small cluster of metal jingles noisily as various keys clash against each other, distorting the stark, almost eerie quiet of the night. I finally find the right one, placing it in the lock and turning it with the last remnants of energy left in my body.
The lock gives with an audible click and I absently push the door open, almost tripping over my own feet as I stagger ungracefully into my tiny studio apartment.
Darkness engulfs me as soon as I step inside, but I don’t reach for the light switch. Tiny, sparse streaks of moonlight make their way through the single window at the opposite end of the room, allowing me some vision of the familiar space.
I lock the door behind me as my eyes slowly adjust to the faint, subdued light. It doesn’t help that my eyelids feel exceptionally heavy tonight, as if they each have a dozen anvils resting on them. My eyes are already half-way closed, and I can barely manage to keep them open; something that’s proving to be a Herculean task in itself.
I practically crawl to my bedroom, feeling like I’m competing in a cross-country walk-a-thon even though it’s only a few feet away. My mind is foggy, as if I’m in a drug-induced haze. I’m way too tired to deal with any more crap.
Tonight’s shift at Rubies was the most hectic and draining it’s ever been since I started working there. It’s a good thing it pays as well as it does.
My stomach growls loudly, like a hungry bull on steroids, reminding me that I haven’t put any food in it for several hours. But I don’t even have the energy to so much as think about eating right now. I seriously can’t remember the last time I’ve been this sleepy. All I want to do right now is pass out.
“I so need a fucking raise,” I mutter to myself, the words leaving my lips in a lethargic slur.
I suppose talking to myself is something I do quite often. Even at times like this. I have to keep myself entertained somehow. But, man, I sound totally beat—even to my own ears.
God…I’m at my limit.
As if concurring with my thoughts, my eyelids become even more droopy, falling as if they’re being dragged down by invisible weights attached to each of my lashes.
I just want to jump in my kid-sized bed and put an end to this exhausting night.
I can’t even be bothered to change out of my work clothes. I feel—and probably look—gross, but whatever.
I shrug off my bag, sighing as the pressure of the strap leaves my shoulder. It falls to the floor with a small thud. I absently kick off my sneakers, as if my legs are on auto-pilot, leaving the worn pair of shoes right next to it.
I plummet into the stiff mattress without hesitation, falling head-first into my pillow with a satisfied groan. I reach for the covers, tugging at the fabric impatiently before pulling it all the way up to my ears—not that the thin blanket can do much to keep me warm.
But it doesn’t matter, because before I know it, my eyes are completely shut and I’m out.