When I woke up, I was already defeated. The thick, mass of blankets pinned me down, while waves of lethargy threatened to drown me beneath them. My eyes felt hazy, as though I had awoke intoxicated by some unknown drug, and every muscle in my body seemed to whisper stay just a little while longer. Gravity itself pulled me back toward the warm confines of the bed when I finally rocked myself up.
And as I stumbled about my room, the cozy grooves of the carpet felt like roots, begging me to drink their nutrients and become a tree. The shivers of cool air whisking through the window cut me deep in my nudity, as if to order me back to bed. The same was true for the bathroom tiles, the shock of frigid water, and the hasty toweling off. I looked at myself in the mirror—might I mention that looking in the mirror in the morning is never a good idea. My salt and pepper beard was scruffy; I looked older than I was. Though, in truth, I felt older than I looked. Which meant, that morning, I could only conclude that I had no idea how old I was, but that “old” was certainly the correct descriptive word.
Looking in that mirror was the last twist of the knife though. It was like watching the walls of Constantinople crumble, or the Russian winter cripple Napoleon’s armies. I saw myself—my sunken eyes, my wrinkled arms, and my weakened knees—and the miniscule warmth in my heart was snuffed out. I picked up the phone and dialed some numbers.
“Hello?” A familiar female voice called out to me.
“Hi, Allie, it’s Jim. I’m not feeling well today. I’ve got a 103 fever, and I’m not going to make it in today.” I could hear the pause as she typed out a few things
“Well hi Jim. I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well, but didn’t you get the email?” There was a note of sorrow in her voice.
“Oh. Well they rescheduled you. You don’t have to come in until tomorrow at five.”
“Oh. Well thanks for telling me. When did they send out the email?”
“This morning,” my heart stung with annoyance as she spoke, “don’t you check everyday?”
“No. Do you?”
“Hmm well you should.” She sounded bored.
“Well, thanks for telling me that,” I said, “talk to you later.”
“By Jim!” then the phone clicked off.
I climbed back into bed and pulled the covers up. They had cooled since I had left them. At least my defeat didn’t actually cost me anything.
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