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Unquenched Thirst and Groggy Conversations

Sleep slowly began to leave him but he kept his eyes closed. He was still a little groggy from sleep, and would only open his eyes if sleep deserted him completely. If there was any chance at sleep returning to him, he’d grasp it with both hands and hold on. What was the point of waking up, when he had nothing to look forward to, no tasks waiting to be completed, nothing.

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He kept at it until not opening his lids itself became a task. The ceiling came into view, a fan slowly spinning around. He unblinkingly gazed at the fan until he wore it out too. His phone was right within reach so he unlocked it; a couple messages, some other notifications. It seemed a world in its own right, a world that couldn’t have much to do with him, right? He put the phone back down and resumed his resting position. A few moments later, he unlocked the phone again to answer any messages, hoping – though, he wouldn’t admit it – for a good conversation that would distract him from this perpetually worn out state.

The clock struck three, and his gaze flickered between that and the phone. He didn’t even have to leave the bed, it was already three anyways. So, he decided to talk to someone who probably wouldn’t force him out of bed. There was one name in the short list of people who wanted to say something. She would have words with him about being healthy, and whatnot, but she was also easy to talk to, easier still to ignore. He let hopes of a good conversation die down. Her words would flow around him, past him, but never through him. Like a cool stream, softly passing by. One could almost lie back and let the stream flow, eyes closed, indifferent to the rest of the world. Until, the stream made your fingers wrinkle, and cold.

“Feeling better?” she had written.

He quickly answered in affirmative, hoping she’d answer soon. The girl was sleepy as usual, which made him tell her he was still in bed.

“Better get you some breakfast,” he typed.

“I’ve had lunch, and now I feel like watching something but sleep has grasped hold of my soul, and it won’t let go!” Dramatic, always dramatic, and far too in love with felines, it would be any moment now before she’d refer to her beloved creatures.

“Sleep loves you,” he teased.

“If only sleep was a person, more than just some personification in poetry, or better yet, a cat. Cats should love me.” There it was.

He absentmindedly wondered what it would feel to be loved and then another thought hit him: what would it like to be loved as much as she loved cats? How would that person feel, lucky and grateful, or suffocated? He dismissed the thought entirely, it had no merit. If his own people could send him away, who was he to expect unrealistic notions of attachment from someone else?

He made sure she knew he noticed she went to sleep early. Maybe she’d stick around longer at night because he could use the company. He was thirsty for the cool stream because there wasn’t much to be done there, the only experience.

They talked about cats, and how she’d like to be one. He said it was adorable, but really, it was amusing and a little creepy. Who wanted to be a cat to learn state secrets? He’d just lie around in the sun somewhere, given anyone didn’t kick him out of the way first.

All of a sudden, he didn’t really want to talk to her anymore. He wanted Sleep again, coveted it so much that it formed an itch underneath his skin. So, he told her he was hungry.

“Don’t feel like going to the ATM because I have no cash. I’m so tired,” the last phrase was repeated so many times between them, it was as if they weren’t humans, but biscuits; stale biscuits, opened and left out far too long, soon to be taken apart by ants, piece by piece, day by day.

His apartment caused this lethargy, this unending cycle of sleeping about twelve hours a day, because what else was a man to do?

“Put that phone down, and get some real shut-eye,” she advised, “and you’ll feel better when you wake up. Then go to the ATM. I’d advise you to throw a small party for yourself, but you can go to sleep if you want to this badly.

Is there someone with you?”

She asked so he could get the other person to bring him food, but he didn’t care. He chuckled mirthlessly, a dry laugh. There was no one with him.

“Put your phone down,” she repeated.

“But I’m talking to you right now, aren’t I?” he asked.

“I’ll be here when you wake up,” she reassured him. Where else would she go?

“Will you?” he confirmed. It didn’t hold any meaning, like the rest of the conversation, simply a way to keep talking to someone practically a stranger.

Regardless, he trusted her to be there when he woke up. Of course, he’d tell her he was about to eat. If there was a chance she could show real concern, he didn’t want it wasted on him. The phone fell back on the bed, and so did he.

Then, with a burst of energy, he sprung up from his bed. He opened the refrigerator, but there weren’t any bottles inside. Irrationally enraged, and unexpectedly emotional, he silently fumed at himself. Then, like a starved maniac, he put his lips to the kitchen tap and drank as if he had never before.

He was so thirsty.

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