A dull thud in the back of my head is the first thing I’m aware of when I wake up. Peeling my eyelids open, the blurry reality of an unfamiliar room comes into focus – all under the yellow haze of alcohol. Thud thud thud. My eyes pick out objects; shit-load of books, clothes like crumpled bodies all over the floor, a half-full glass of water. Water. Thank God. I gulp it down like I’ve been trekking across the desert for days. It soothes my throat; there must have been tequila last night. I focus a crusty eye on the wavering numbers of the bedside clock: 11am, third of February. I’ve missed the deadline of several job applications. Financial advisor, interpreter, recruitment consultant; you’re so smart Alex, you could do anything. Right.
Where are my trousers? If I could just find my trousers I could make the afternoon essay hand-in. Well, if I’d written it. Oh God, a Norton Anthology. Did I really sleep with an English student last night? I can feel my brain crumbling inside my skull. Something is echoing, jangling chimes bouncing around my head. My phone; the screen flashes in irritation. ‘Mum calling’. No. No way. I switch it to silent; it still flashes up at me, squealing like a hungry piglet. Leave me alone. I don’t want to know how well Lisa’s doing in her PhD, I don’t care which billionaire boy she’s seeing now. I just need quiet, and some Irn Bru.
What are you doing with yourself Alex? You could get a first if you tried. Don’t you want to keep all your options open? But so many are already closed. Did I take a pill last night? My throat is dry. Oh, yeah, I did. Who’s in this bed? Oh, I don’t care. I just need…something.
20% of my grade. I’m sure that’s what that essay’s worth. That’s a lot. Thud thud thud. My brain pounds against the side of my head. It’s not worth thinking about, really. I drape an arm over the side of the bed, sighing openly. Whack; my knuckles rap against something hard. Ow. A globe. Maybe I could just leave. Slug on a backpack and just escape to…countries and oceans merge together as I spin the world around…the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Well done Alex, good plan.
Ok, I’m going to ignore this headache. Thud thud thud. I’m going to get up and sort my life out today. Now. Now. I slide a foot out of the waxy duvet. Why is it waxy? No, focus. I’m going to find my trousers, get a coffee on my way home, call my mum back and pass my degree. All in one day. I’m like a superhero.
“Mmmm,” a sleepy voice next to me. “Hey,” two big brown chocolatey eyes peer out from under the covers. A hand creeps along my belly, two fingers walking down, resting at the elastic of my underwear.
Maybe just a little bit longer in bed.
Writer: Susannah Pope
Illustrator: Laura Armstrong