I can remember it vividly as I walked up the stairs and climbed the ladders. It had been only hours since I’d woken, a part of the same routine as each morning. The alarm rings at 7.15, I lean across to press snooze and then I doze until 7.30. This morning however was different. I didn’t wake up at 7.30. In fact, I don’t remember waking up or following my usual routine at all. It was all a blur, a daze. Now I’m here, just standing atop a roof with blood on my hands and the only thought I have is jump.
I could see the lights across the city, hear the ringing of sirens and the screeching of cars as they raced to see the circus master upon his podium. Only to be bitterly disappointed by the masked clown, who is to fall to his death in one of the darkest scenes of comedy the world has ever seen. The wind blew across my hair as it wafted around the great bulk of building, carrying with it the fumes and sounds of the city. It seemed to numb the noise as it whistled and hushed across my ears, muffling the orchestra of out of tune noises that didn’t seem to match the ugliness that was this concrete jungle.
I looked over the edge without that tiny feeling in the pit of your stomach that only occurs when you look over a great height. A feeling I can only liken to a bow being drawn across your intestines as they mimic the strings of a violin, creating a crescendo of fear in the depths of your soul. I didn’t like not having this feeling, I didn’t like not feeling anything. My mind was clear, my mind was blank; still not knowing what I had done I leant my body forwards. Stretching out my arms in an embrace, I felt myself drop towards the tender hug of the concrete road below.
The wind whistled past my ears and the sounds of screeching sirens from the city hurtled towards me. Not being able to open my eyes I didn’t know how close I was to the ground, yet somehow I knew. I could feel it nearing, I could feel it drawing closer and almost like time was slowed I could feel myself plummet into it; like reality was finally hitting me with a slow, painful, and drawn out jolt.
My nose landed first. I felt it being pressed vigorously with crunches as every piece of cartilage snapped and moulded together back into one before burying itself into the centre of my skull. My forehead, eyebrows, mouth and chin were the next to meet the cold pavement and my skull found itself being buried into the hard grey stone with such a force it didn’t even have the time to bounce. I could hear and feel each fragment of my skull cave in on my brain puncturing it like a knife into pâté and spreading the remains across the concrete palate which had become my death bed. The rest of my body fell into its grip with a series of crunches, ricochets and snaps; all merging together into a single sickening thud.
I woke up with a gasp. I was sweating and breathing heavily. The bed sheets were wet and uncomfortable on my back. The room suddenly changed from blackness to white light. I blinked as I struggled to contend with blinding rays which burned my retinas, creating white spots everywhere I looked. Eventually a man’s face emerged from behind the light. Brown eyes, stubble across his chiselled jaw. His hair was swept back by either his sweat or grease, and the hair on his chest was thick hiding several tribal tattoos he had below.
“You alright?” he asked as he turned to me from his side of the bed. “Bad dream?”
“Turn the fucking light off, what time is it?”
I sighed and I rubbed my forehead with my fingers and the palm of my hand. I could feel a headache starting. Why was it this happened every time I was with someone? Why did I always feel patronised whenever they asked ‘Bad dream?’
“Leave,” I said.
“I want you to leave.”
“Get dressed and get out.”
“What? But I thought we-“
“We met on that fucking app,” I cut him off. “This was just a hook up, it didn’t mean anything.”
He got up, grabbing his jeans from the floor and quickly put on his t-shirt which was lying at the bottom of the bed. The creases misshaped the contours of his body, beneath it he was fit. As he stood up I saw several inches between his thick well-conditioned legs; and his golden tanned skin shimmered as the sweat on his body reflected the light.
“Asshole,” he said as he turned, fixing his jeans before leaving my room. There was silence for all of five or six seconds before I heard the crunch of the door handle as it was pressed and the inevitable slam as he left. I sighed again.
I leant back and was reminded of the sweat which had me feeling uncomfortable before. The sweat was now cold, and made me curve my spine to get the majority of my skin surface off its chilling touch. I rolled over to the side on which the man lay only moments before. I could smell him on the sheets, a mixture of sweat and sex. Nothing had prepared me for the emptiness it made me feel inside. I lay there for several minutes breathing in that comfort, before finally getting up and walking to the kitchen.
I lifted a packet of cigarettes and drew one out. Holding it between my lips I searched for the kitchen matches before settling with the gas stove. I usually stood on the kitchen balcony when I smoked to save my house from the stench but it was the middle of winter, I was entirely naked, and it looked as though it was starting to rain. I began to stare out of the balcony’s sliding door instead. A single pane of glass distancing me from the world outside. I felt like an animal in a zoo, spectating on passers-by as they stared. Who knows what they were thinking looking into this tiny world in which only I exist. While I stand here and look out wondering why I can’t ever fit into theirs.
I put my hand on it, my warm breath and smoke fogging up my view. I couldn’t tell whether focus of the world was beginning to fade because of the rain outside, or the tears welling in my eyes as they began to slowly make their way down my face. I opened up the balcony door, and put out my cigarette against the metal guardrail before flicking it off into the wind. I closed the door and turned back to my bed, hoping the sweat had now dried in and I could comfortably get back to sleep.
I’d lost count of the nights I’d slowly drift away with tears in my eyes, I’d often wake up in a lake that can only be described as an icy saddle for my face. Life hadn’t been happy for a long while. There had been men I’d slept with, men I’d cared for, but no one ever left me feeling fulfilled. I lived comfort to comfort, hook-up to hook-up. ‘Fun’ as they called it on the app. But I never understood what was fun about it. If we were all having fun we wouldn’t need to have sex with random strangers. Yet somehow it seemed like it was almost expected in this homosexual world.
I couldn’t feel the sweat as I got back into bed, and the smell of him had faded. My only comfort that evening now gone, leaving me here in my empty bed with nothing and no one at all. I felt the tears rushing back again. I grabbed the pillow from his side of the bed and spooned it. I didn’t want anything more than what I was getting. But as I slowly drifted off to sleep I knew there was something I was missing; and I felt more and more like there wasn’t a world in which I was meant to belong.