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20 abril, 2011

Insomnia

Sleep, Dalí
There were only sounds of non-living things on – a dying roar reverberating in the whole house. The bathroom had a leaking that never stopped – tic, tic, tic, tic; the fridge snored on starvation as it needed to be fed; a noise of detuned radio was always on the air, even when it was off; the TV, bringing other people’s reality and also fantasies in, cracked – tac, tac, tac; the floor cracked – tac; the roof yelled as it collapsed, but it never would; the microwave beeped, continuously, counting the hours.

An unusual noise broke off from the roar and took Peter Harvey’s attention – it was not a meow, but a sardonic purr. Harvey goggled at the compact range of his three-room apartment and found a cat staring at him, its tail curved over its back. A cat?, he questioned himself in amazement, yet quite sure of the impossible presence of such an animal in his place. He shook his head in disapproval of his own thought as to vanish the image of the purring cat from his mind. In fact, it did disappear, but there was still the hovering of that sound in the tiny only-one-living-person apartment.

Beep, beep: the microwave announced the time spreading an echoing wave of electronic sound – one more hour had gone off, and now it was 3am. Peter Harvey fixed himself on the couch as to avoid having silly thoughts, started zapping the TV, but could not help his eyes when he saw feline references every channel he surfed. Reasonably, Harvey came to the conclusion that he should be tired, and should not cheat himself of his sleep, and went straight to bed.

Peter could not sleep.

Undoubtedly, he was intrigued by the cat, but the reason he could not sleep is that falling asleep was his most difficult daily scuffle.

Lights: off. Non-living sounds: on. Cat purr: still on. Peter Harvey: on. Peter struggled to sleep. As if a storm was brewing in his way, he battled the blanket and blanketed himself waiting for protection, but he rolled all over the bed which made it clanck, and his arms embraced and folded the pillow as if it was a rock, an anchor where he could cling on to – Peter was awake. Tic, tic, tic – the tap dropped water rhythmically. Tac, tac, tac, tac – the floor cracked. Insistently the microwave – beep! – announced another hour. A bit later chirps broke the roaring and not much longer, natural light invaded the rooms, as did a thousand of other vibrant and living things’ sounds. By that time, Peter was exhausted and let himself be overcome by tiredness, falling asleep. It was already something past six and he had about three or so hours of sleep before showering, having-coffee-and-a-puff and heading to work. Peter was still, he lay on the bed much more as a corpse than as someone who rests.

Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring... rang the alarm which was set for 9h15 everyday, but Sundays. It rang – ring, ring, ring, ring, ring – but Peter did not move.

The roar that shares the house with Peter is now muffled with the external sounds of the morning. Cosy, he wakes up, the morning sunshine comes through the window-panes and joins the scent of fresh coffee spread all around the house. He stretches lazily without opening the eyes, his arms widely opened are ready to embrace a new day. He yawns and opens the eyes and there it is: a cat, also yawning and walking the lazy and elegant cat walk over the blanket towards his lap.

For quite a while, Peter freezes in amazement and so does the cat. The ice is broken only when the kitten purrs slyly and starts rubbing its whiskers on his hands holding the blanket. Scared, the man – discrediting of that scene – all of a sudden, jumps out of the bed and finds himself standing in the same room which lodges lounge-room and kitchen. The small round dining-table is set for breakfast: freshly baked bread, cakes, muffins, biscuits, eggs and bacon, butter, all sort of jams, fresh coffee, tea and milk.

On one side there is the cat sat, reading the papers; on the other, a free seat waiting for him. Peter is muted.

‘Bonjour, monsieur Harvey. Le petit déjeuner est servi,’ says the cat in such a natural tone, ‘asseyez vous.’
Peter goggles as much as it is possible.

‘Quel chat stupide que je suis, pourquoi suis-je en train de parler en français avec vous? Excusez-moi! Oh, again! I’m so sorry. What I meant was: breakfast is served, have a seat!’

‘Je... je... je vous ai entendu’, stammers Peter. ‘Wait, je ne parle pas français.’

‘Oh, now you do. You are so smart, mon ami’, the kitten folds the papers and serves himself a cup of tea.

‘Will you stand there the whole morning? Le petit déjeuner est superbe!’

Peter Harvey oddly accepts the invitation, not for curiosity, but for the incapability to control his movements.
‘Non, rien...’ the cat starts humming a French song.

Peter stands still on the chair. Desperately he tries to scream, but from his mouth only comes French, and then he shuts up. He tries to move, but his arms are tied on the chair, his eyes are strained by upper and lower extremities with tape, and his ears seem to explode for the deafening sound of loud rings.

Peter Harvey was eyes wide opened, but couldn’t move, his body could not break off the bed. He also could not breathe and then choked. When regained the breath, he jumped off the bed as to accomplish something that could not be waited for, and dove deeply into the new day which had just been deflowered by the possibilities of the night.

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