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Everyday I Atrophy

Dublin's Chris Connolly brings the perfect New Year's Day Morning story

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by Chris Connolly, for outsideleft.com
originally published: January, 2008
Every evening I begin drinking whisky with water and ice and every night I realise I am drunk and wonder why
by Chris Connolly, for outsideleft.com
originally published: January, 2008
Every evening I begin drinking whisky with water and ice and every night I realise I am drunk and wonder why

I set my alarm clock to wake me up every morning at ten minutes past eight. This is the latest I can get up and ready and out of my apartment and down the cold short road to work.

Every morning I am awake before I hear the alarm. I lie in bed trying to sleep but am so filled with the dread of hearing the alarm clock yet again that I can't. So I wait and wait and wait for the alarm, knowing the alarm will ring soon, or eventually ring, and when it does sooner or later eventually ring it surprises me and fills me with rage.

Every morning at ten past eight it rings and I hit it, and my body decides that this is the time to finally have sleep, and I sleep. And every morning 10 or 20 or 30 minutes after my alarm clock rings I jolt awake and realise I'm late for work. I jump up and curse and stumble to the bathroom.

Every morning I stumble into my bathroom and it is cold, the floor freezes my feet on contact and I shudder. Every morning my bathroom isn't really a bathroom, because it has no bath. I look into the mirror at 10 or 20 or 30 minutes past ten minutes past eight, and every morning I notice my eyes are a red-yellow colour and my red-yellow eyes see my sinking face and I sigh.

Every shower I take in my bathroom that isn't a bathroom leaves me unsatisfied and angry and bitter. My shower is small and I am big, and every morning my shower deliberately antagonises me. My shower exists. It is animate, and it dislikes being a shower and blames this on me. As revenge for having to exist as a shower my shower burns and freezes me every morning and every morning my shower manages to make itself smaller out of spite.

I shave after showering, using an electric razor because I hate the feeling of cool smoothness across my face after a wet shave. My razor is old and broken and the blades are blunt. Every morning my electric razor scours my face and pulls out individual bits of stubble instead of cutting them clean off, and every morning I squeal and stamp my feet every few seconds as yet another tiny hair is pulled from the soft skin of my cheeks. Every morning I try to break the razor by smashing it violently against the sink, but every morning it keeps buzzing and once again I hate my electric razor a little bit more. After shaving I get dressed and decide to buy a new electric razor after work. Every day after work I don't buy a new electric razor.

I leave my apartment every morning and lock the door and make my way outside. Every morning I walk or run outside and see my post box and remember that I've forgotten its key. Every morning instead of going back inside to get it I spend 2 or 3 or 4 minutes trying to squeeze my hand inside the stupid letter box to prize out an always pointless letter, and every morning I scrape my hand in the process and kick the box, hurting my foot.

Outside my apartment it is windy every morning, and it takes time to get my first cigarette of the day lit. When my cigarette is lit I inhale deeply, exhale with a wheeze, then cough and splutter until my lungs remember that my brain needs the fumes.

When I reach work every day the sense of gloom that follows me from my bed settles into my mind and body for the day ahead. I sit in the same chair at the same desk in the same suit, looking at the same computer screen and thinking the same thoughts, saying hello to the same people in the same false tone of voice with the same false, gritted smile. Every morning I do the same things in the same place with the same people in the same mood and every day I become more and more wedged into this horrible boring crack in time.

I smile and look pleased to see people in work - the replicas of real live thinking people - and every day at six o clock I leave and the gloom stays with me, lodged in my brain and body.

When work ends I leave and go back through the wind and dark to my apartment. I take off my suit and pour a drink and sprawl my body over my too-small sofa. Every evening I lie there and decide to roll a joint and when my body feels able I stick the papers and fill them with tobacco and hash and weed and roll them and insert a small roach and light it all up and breathe in a small piece of relief.

Every evening I begin drinking whisky with water and ice and every night I realise I am drunk and wonder why.

Every evening I sit and lie and pace, thinking the same thoughts about the same day as all the ones before, and I wonder about the point.

Time passes. I wait eagerly for each moment before watching it float by, untouched by me. I am frozen. I am afraid. I am finished with this. Every day i am frozen afraid and finished.

Every day I ask myself why I do this. I ask myself why I allow this to be done to me. Every day I hate every second and every minute. And then every night I turn off the light and get into bed, and every single night, without fail, I set my alarm, and lay waiting for it to ring. Every day I atrophy.

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Chris Connolly

Chris Connolly writes from Dublin, Ireland. Allegedly he is not as dangerous as he reads. His first collection of short stories, 'Every Day I Atrophy' (the SideCartel) is available now. If you need to know more about Chris Connolly, he has an excellent and excellently informative website here chrisconnollywriter.com

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