The Lights are On and I’m Staying Awake Forever
I’m a simple man, and my requirements for a roommate are very minimal. Don’t touch me when I’m naked and don’t make murdery movements in my direction. Russell has done neither. In fact, he’s quite pleasant. He makes non-smelly food in the kitchen and is shorter than me. This makes me few inches more attractive to Susan the single mom that lives across the hall. She’s at tops maybe a 4 which for a man like me, in the twilight of his twenties, falls comfortably in the middle of my target range…
But I digress.
Russell. There’s something not right about his ways.
Every evening sometime between six and eleven PM he scurries from the living room couch to his bedroom. Great. Normal. No problem. But… He never turns his light off. It stays on, blaring out of the cracked door. After a few hours of hushed silence, well into the deepest hours of the night, I equip my thickest pair of wool socks (a tool for sneaking) and gracefully flutter across the smooth wood floor to see what Russell is still doing awake. But as I press my face up to the sliver of light coming from the open door I find Russell, curled up in bed, asleep.
He seems peaceful enough but there’s something off about the whole situation. Actually there’s something on about the whole situation. And it’s the lightswitch. It raises a question that keeps me stirring for hours, ripping from my hands precious minutes of sleepy time, a passion I’ve held sacred for years.
What does Russell know that I do not?
Why leave the lights on?
I find myself checking locks, collecting weapons, and flicking on and off various switches around the house.
What’s Russell so scared of?
What has he seen that I haven’t?
I don’t sleep anymore. I stay awake next to Russell’s door. Staring at him. Observing his slumber. Watching for clues. He doesn’t appreciate it much, he’s told me, but I like to think he’ll thank me some day. Knowing I’m there. A guardian just beyond his door.
Sleep now sweet prince. May the darkness never reach beyond the door frame. And when it does, I’ve got that missing leg from the dining room table fixed with rusty nails and your old razor blades.