Treacle and Ink

April 8, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — adrian @ 7:10 pm

I feel very peculiar. My head’s been aching all day, I feel like I’m too hot, as if I haven’t had enough sleep. Of course, I haven’t had enough sleep. I looked in the mirror again last night. It was midnight, I only wanted to write a page or two before bed. The place was so dark and quiet, and my thumb was hurting where I cut it a couple of weeks ago – it hasn’t seemed to heal quite right. And I thought – just a few minutes, maybe half an hour. Just a little bit before bed. I looked into the inky blackness of my reflected self, my eyes so hollow and dark like the depth of the sea or of exhaustion. I looked, and it felt like I was falling, like that moment in a dream just before you wake up when it feels that you’ve tripped except that I just went on falling and falling and there were no stories this time, no dreams, just a silence and darkness and waiting and I thought I heard a voice say “the Doctor will see you now.”

I came to at the sound of something scratching at the window in the kitchen. I jerked, shivered. I thought I’d been away for maybe five minutes, but the clock told me it was 4.30am. Always darkest before the dawn. I sat in my bedroom and listened to the noises in the kitchen. Scratch, scratch. Someone, or something, waggled the outer handle of the back door. And as I sat listening, trying to summon up the courage to go into the kitchen to look, or even just to get up, I had a funny tickly feeling on my front. I looked down and saw that my shirt was on inside out. And my trousers. And, when I looked, my underwear and my socks. All my clothes were inside out, but I know they hadn’t been like that when I locked up the shop, and I know I didn’t do it myself. At least, not consciously. It was all I could do to stop myself screaming.

I sat for what felt like a hundred years, until the scratching noise in the kitchen stopped. And then I turned on all the lights in the shop, and the radio. And the sound of the World Service and the news brought me back a little to this world. So I changed my clothes, and I put the mirror back into the store room, and locked the door and I sat in bed and waited. I finally fell asleep just after dawn.

I don’t know what’s going on anymore, but I know it’s not normal. I think I need to speak to Jacques, but he’s not answering my calls or my emails. Some of you have emailed to tell me that he’s going to be in the Jerusalem Tavern, 55 Britton Street, Clerkenwell, London, EC1M 5UQ on Thursday 10 April from 5.30pm to 6pm. I think he’s looking for things to impress his erstwhile girlfriend so if you take along a flower or a sketch or a homemade cake or something of that sort he’ll probably feel more favourable to you. Don’t ask him too many questions from me – I don’t want to frighten him off. Just tell him, please, that Alice is sorry, and wants to talk to him. Just tell him that.

For tonight, there will be no mirror. I can already feel that I want to look at it again, and that scares me. But whatever happens, I won’t. I’m going to turn on the little television in the back room and watch University Challenge, and Newsnight, and the Henry James film and try to pretend I feel normal. As for tomorrow, I’ll deal with that when it comes.

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