Unnoticeable ~ Short Story

I always awake at dawn. Looking over at my alarm clock and think, why bother to set it? Make the bed, let the dog out, open the fridge, grab the coffee and repeat everyday. This is my morning ritual. Oh yeah forgot; check e-mail, read web while coffee is brewing.

I work from home and this gives me liberties that few others have, such as working in boxers and optional showering. I can go days without seeing or talking to anyone, especially talking. I do get out. I like to walk. I like to sit in coffeehouses and write. This makes me feel like I am the last of the beatnik generation of writers. Getting all Kerouac-O-Wacky rambling on about the unnoticeable-ness of my life and how odd it is to be self-aware of my own unnoticeable-ness, well…that just makes me feel special.

It has been seven days since the last time I left the house. My days have been a fog of writing, photography and practicing the guitar. No special goal in mind. I am lucky enough that I have enough money in the bank and no schedule to answer to. So, I go into hermit mode from time to time.

The weather has changed; autumn has arrived and with that came my nightmares. Never found out why but when summer leaves and autumn arrives I get nightmares; vicious, crazy, scary nightmares of people who only look like living silhouettes and shadows.

I think this is why I awake at dawn. As soon as the night leaves, my body needs the light to free itself from the terrors that nighttime brings on.

I do what I can to keep the nightmares under control. I drink Scotch, lots and lots of Scotch whisky. God bless the distilleries of Scotland for single malt. For reasons unknown to me only Scotch can help; it is not a savior, but it helps. I think it is the slight coma that too much scotch can bring on. Red wine enhances the nightmares; beer does nothing to help and chamomile tea just pisses off the demons in my head.

Day eight, need to get out of the house. I smell from the past seven days of stale air that I sat in. Need food, make myself a tomato sandwich. Toast the bread grab the last tomato from my garden, add some fresh basil, and smear on red pepper hummus. Wash the meal down with a dark beer. It’s ok to have beer with breakfast when you are accountable to no one. Need a days worth of supplies before heading out the door. Grab my journal, laptop, two pens (deliberately leave my phone at home) and toss in a bag of cashews. Tennis shoes on, fleece pullover on and out the door on a forty-five minute walk to Uptown coffee where I can be all-judgmental-of–society while drinking black coffee.

The air is wet and I can see my breath as I walk up the hill to Bower Road. The neighborhood is quiet. Day-job-people, thank God I don’t have one of those. Surprised more people don’t go cubical than postal….I guess we all lead our own life of 9 to 5 repetition. Lucky for me pants are optional in my life of repetition.

Turn the corner at Saint Clair Hospital and I watch a bus let out.

Black silhouette shadows of people get off the bus. My heart stops, I lose my breath. I stand frozen as the black silhouette shadows move past me. Heat - they give off heat, like standing next to a coal furnace and the noise is unbearable; it is as if ten thousand conversations are happening all at the same time.

The bus pulls away and I am alone on the street. I catch my breath and panic at the same time. I sit on the curb. I question…Am I awake? This is a dream, it must be a dream? I am awake, f-ing awake, cars are moving, birds are chirping. Look left then right; no black silhouette shadows. This must be the onset of schizophrenia. Maybe I am a better writer than I thought. Pull it together, get up and walk.

I make it to the coffeehouse all the while questioning the onset of my crazy mind disease. My heart never slows back down. Scotch. I need scotch. Walk in the coffeehouse; no one is looking up. I go directly into the bathroom and splash water on my face. Looking into the mirror I cannot see my reflection, only a black silhouette shadow of myself. I can see everything else reflecting in the mirror. The sink, toilet, green wallpaper, the photo on the walls, but not me. It’s like looking at a photo of yourself where someone has rubbed black ink over the image. As I move, the black silhouette shadow moves; as I splash more water on my face so does the black silhouette shadow. As I turn and move so does the black silhouette shadow.

This is not real. I open the bathroom door.

The coffeehouse is filled with black silhouette shadows drinking coffee and having conversation, reading books, typing on laptops, having conversations…all this is real. I can see the books, laptops, coffee cups; I can see movement in everything. I can hear the voices, too many voices…

I am cold, so cold. I black out.

I awake later, no idea how long I was out. Nobody came to help me. I lay on the floor balled-up right out side the bathroom door in the fetal position.

My vision comes back into focus slowly. Head hurts and my mouth is dry. Looking down I notice that I can see my hands, I can see my feet, I touch my face and feel the whiskers on my chin. Rub my hands through my hair, I am alive…I am alive. I get up and go back into the bathroom, take a deep breath and look in the mirror…black silhouette shadow. The room is in the reflection but I cannot see my own face. I can look down and see my hands but only the smoke fog of my reflection can been seen in the mirror.

Leave the bathroom for a second time and walk into the coffeehouse.

The coffeehouse is empty. The black silhouette shadows are gone. I am alone.

The smells of fresh coffee and baked goods are in the air. I help myself to a blueberry muffin from behind the counter; poor a cup of coffee and sit down with a Wall Street Journal newspaper that was left sitting on the bar. Look at the date on the top of the paper: October 5th 2010. The headline reads “New CEO at Twitter”, “Stocks slump and Obama Scales Back on Legislative Plans”. This is too mediocre of a day for this to be a dream.

Take a bite of the muffin and think to myself that this is the best damn muffin I ever had. With onset of mental disease comes the blessing of clarity. I giggle out loud; a pure Zen moment during the onset of schizophrenia. The coffee is burnt.

I grab the fork on the table and stab my left forearm; blood comes out, definitely not a dream. Grab the old napkins left on the table to stop the blood.

This is a genuine experience. Odd but genuine. I can see my body, just not in the mirror.

Life is happening outside this coffeehouse, but inside I sit alone.

Alien abductions? I have been reading “The Transmigration of Timothy Archer” by Philip K. Dick. Nightmares, scotch and reading way too much Philip K. Dick could bring on my mental break.

I was recently researching government secret human experimentation, could I have stumbled onto something? Could this be a cover up by bringing on madness so I don’t go public? Probably not since I have no findings past Google conspiracy search on “human radiation experiments conducted by the U.S. government.”

I never did learn what brought on my nightmares or the black-silhouette-shadow-people of my dreams. All I do know is that they come to life every autumn and leave in the springtime.

In between wakening life of the day and haunting nightmare of the dark…

I am unnoticeable….