Shadows are falling and I’ve been here all day
It’s too hot to sleep, time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal
There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there
- Bob Dylan – Copyright © 1997 by Special Rider Music
It was getting dark. I turned on the bed-side lamp and hit the bed a dead weight. Closed my tired desparate eyes. Or that’s how they looked in the fly-specked-mirror in the fetid washroom down the hall. I had splashed water on my face, but I was still bothered by the heat, which hung over me like a sordid blanket. Is this what death is like, or a cold clammy fog in which you are forever lost?
I must have slept or did I? The slatted light from the flashing red neon sign outside was making crazy patterns on the ceiling. Discordant jazz notes drifted in through the open window from a bar down in the street. A woman was wailing now. Somewhere in this flophouse. Her no-doubt bloated weeping eyes blackened by fear and habitual abuse. A door slammed and not long after heavy footfalls lumbered down the stairs outside. She stopped her lament. The band was no longer playing. It got quiet. The silence broken occasionally by car-tyres swishing on the wet asphalt.
The bed was stale and hard, but it was kind of bracing, a distraction from the heat. It was dark now and the room flashed in and out of a red glow adrift in some parallel universe. Where was I? Who was I? Who cared? I switched on the radio. A long dead Jim Morrison was singing. “When the music’s over, turn out the light”. Dead 40 long years? How old was I then? How alive? How real? Don’t ask where the years have gone.
I was scared. Always had been. What’s it like to be comfortable in your skin? To never see the chaos and the terror just beyond. As empty and lost as I feel? Who cares? Another futility to add to the deck.
I had drifted somewhere and woke with a start. The pillow was soaked and my shirt collar awash with a cold sweat. I needed a drink. I grabbed the half-empty Tequila bottle and took a shot. It burned with a fragrance sweet as my mother’s smile. I was tired of waiting. Why didn’t they come now and put an end to it. My hands shook as I lit a cigarette. My last? I watched the lingering smoke snake towards the window. Is this how your soul finally escapes? Slowly and reluctantly before it dissolves into the big night? I turned off the lamp. “Cancel my subscription to the resurrection.”