‘Of Escapades Out on the “D” Train’


Tired. A tiredness that lies beneath my so-thinly surface. If you were to take a painted fingernail to my forearm and scratch away, the white milk of my tiredness would spittle forth, and you would say—‘Book some time off work!’ or ‘Go to bed earlier tonight.’ But I do neither. I sit here instead, in this very chair, rubbing my head, asking myself, What is it I was going to write about tonight? And then look how the words come to have no meaning at all but a record of my tiredness.
    A mischievous day that tried to make us believe it was summer. After many cold dark months, we are all too eager to believe we deserve the best that meteorology has to offer. It is the custom of Britons to constantly check the forecast of this rainy isle, and should someone remark upon the beauty of the weather, then another – or even the same! – will call out—‘It’s going to drop to five and rain on Wednesday.’ They seem to derive some kind of strange pleasure from the prospect of terrible conditions interrupting the good. Still, I woke this morning and took my first cigarette to the thermometer in the shade, passing out the sun’s warmth and smiling at mercury’s high tip. It truly felt like summer and the birds were in song. There was a sweet smell in the air, and although it played havoc with my allergies, I enjoyed it very much.
    The cabbie had taken his wrinkled hands from the wheel and turned around to me, removing his mask. A lot of my journey had been spent imagining what he looked like underneath the sky-blue cloth, and he betrayed my expectations of a soft face but instead very stern but kind like a father. He spoke of some medicine he assured me would heal my tremors, which he had noticed as I handed over the money. ‘I started shaking about four years ago and I went to this doctor and he sent me to this other doctor and, this doctor, he gave me these pills… Naab Systems or something… and I stopped shaking.’ I held my hand out flat for his scrutiny – and it was then that I noticed how bad they were when I often forgot – and he stared. ‘Been shaking since I hit puberty, man. Seen every doctor and there’s nothing they can do about it.’
    ‘You say the clocks go forward at one?’ She was looking at her phone, anticipating. Sliding into bed, I said it was something like that; certain they leapt forward an hour at one o’clock, and they went back in October at two o’clock. That hour as the hands were at their highest kept precious, when the night was its most tender. I told her how bright the moon was. ‘Is it a full moon?’ I told her it was, that I did not even have to put the bathroom light on. Satisfied she had seen the time change, she turned to me, blue eyes and close but not blurred.
    Still the moon shines brightly. It is full, perhaps, its edge a little frayed, a cloudless day into a cloudless night like nudity. I am sure it is the fluid in my eye that puts the halo there. But before the moon and the Naab Systems and mercury, there was me slumped in the backseat of a parked car. Slumped because I did not wish to be seen, and so tired that I sighed. ‘I dunno… I dunno whether work is good but there are bad days, or whether work is bad and there are good days. I dunno what to do anymore. I just know that I’m very tired.’ Tend to drift off, tend to run out of words, like I extend myself towards the water, to the end of the jetty, and then gesture in mid-air to a stranger I have spoken to for hours but never met, a stranger I take too much pleasure in making laugh.
    So I came off the telephone and did something about it. And, despite sadness, exhaustion, a sense that I was taking control, even though it was not booking time off or going to bed earlier.

Mark

Thank you for reading. It really does mean so much to me.