Jess in Real Life – Penguin Classics

Finally reading Kafka’s The Trial and I stumbled across this gem: ‘No, no,’ said K. with a note of forgiveness in his voice as if the lad had done something wrong but he forgave him.’

I think I wrote a line like that once and a teacher crossed it through with a red pen.

Now I see that my primary school just wasn’t ready for me.

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Musing Monday #8

New York Is Killing Me.

I’ve always wondered how long you can go without sleep. Not you, personally- any body. I remember reading something somewhere about a boy staying awake for 11 days. I always thought that I could do better, the way that all 10 year old boys think they could do anything. But now…now that I haven’t slept for four weeks, I’ve proved 10 year old me right. I’ve proved that with very little or no exertion on my part I can achieve whatever I want and also, as it turns out, whatever I do not want.

 

But you probably don’t want to hear about this. You said we could use this note system in situations of emergency. I don’t know if I would label this an urgent piece of news if you were actually sitting across from me at this table, instead of reading this in the diner hours later, but ever since I woke up, for the last time, I’ve been thinking a lot about the past. About my mother, about my sleepy town, about the bus I used to take to school and the sound of the surf crashing against the promenade wall as we rode past. I don’t know if you’ve ever been near the sea- you probably have if you’ve been around as much as I think you have- but it has this distinct rhythm. It gets inside you, a bit like a heartbeat. When I was little and used to wake up in the dead of the night, I could hear it still, the sound of water rushing up and then away. When I got older, I found out it was the sound of blood sloshing about in my ears. But, still. It sounded exactly the same. As if the two things, meeting as they did when I stood on the promenade as a child and listened to the sea, had taken on the properties of each other. Merging, I think that’s called.

 

I don’t hear the blood anymore. Just the memory of the sea replaying over and over, like a sound clip on loop. I hear it when I’m walking along the side streets in the early morning. I hear it when I’m mopping the linoleum floor at work. I hear it when I’m staring at the walls of my apartment, thinking about what to eat. Especially when I’m think about what to eat. The sound of the sea, of blood sloshing, of heartbeats, and chewing and dying breaths. There’s a rhythm to all of it. And rhythm is key. That’s another thing I’ve learnt. I could be a man sized metronome now. See. It’s like with religion. He takes away but He also provides.

 

I’m getting lost. I originally came in for a coffee, as you do in these parts. and then I remembered, this is where you took me, before we parted ways. You sat opposite the zigzag painting, and I sat devouring my double cheese burger with extra bacon. You specifically said, if I can remember- and I can remember everything nowadays- that you did not want to see me ever again. At the time I thought you just had a strict policy on one night stands, but now…now that I can’t ever eat and be full or drink and be full or talk to people without trembling, or sleep, or think without hearing that god awful metronome, and go a day with out feeling cold, or nervous or seeing things that aren’t there, or calling my mother’s house and hanging up the phone, or following my co worker Bethany home, I feel like you might owe me a little more. Which is probably why you mentioned this note system. At the time I thought it was odd, but I figured you probably did it for the story. A city thing. Now I don’t know. But I’ve got time. Like I said, I’m up all night and I’m achieving all sorts of things, I’m going to figure this out.