>Lie about why you're up.<
I shouldn’t even be thinking about this, I keep these details secret for a reason. Even Suzu doesn’t know everything about this side of me, so why should Hisao? This is the kind of thing that’s better if I just keep it to myself; it’s been that way for as long as I’ve been at Yamaku. I’ll just give him some random excuse.
<I got up to go to the bathr-> No, that’s a little weird.
<I just got up to get some water.>
There we go, simple and believable. I drop my right arm back down to my side after hitting send, phone still in my hand, and think about what I’m even supposed to do for the rest of tonight. It doesn’t feel like I’m going to get to sleep any time soon, but I can’t go running. None of my friends are awake to text - well, Hisao is, apparently, but as far as he knows I’m going right back to sleep. My phone vibrates, another message from Hisao.
<Oh, OK. Good night.>
Well, there’s that.
Now I just have to figure out how I’m supposed to get back to sleep with my left arm in pain; another sharp jolt reminds me that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Well, I can’t go running, but that doesn’t mean I have to stay in my room. I hop out of bed again and amble out of my room, taking a long look at Suzu’s door on my way out. Boy, it’d be nice to have her to talk to right now... Whatever. I’m not going to wake her up just so I have someone to talk to, and certainly not when I’m having to intermittently deal with sharp pain in my left arm. She’s asked about my phantom pains, and I know she really wants to help, but at the same time, I don’t want to burden her with this kind of stuff. She’s got enough to worry about, like school, and... Well, actually, really just school. But it’s still a lot, especially when she struggles to stay awake during class sometimes.
Remembering what I texted Hisao, I realize that I actually am kind of thirsty, so I walk to the nearest water fountain and take a long drink. My arm is still complaining, jumping in between outright pain and an annoying twinge, but I realize that despite my rough plan of “not staying in my room,” there really isn’t much to do out here either.
Okay, so... I guess I’ll try going back to bed?
That idea turns out to be just as effective as it was the first time, and once again I realize that I’m not going to get any sleep, so I end up sprawled on my bed in an awkward position, eyes wide open and stump trying to burrow into the mattress. I toss my left arm over the side of the bed, and it hits the floor with a mildly satisfying ‘thunk’.
Come on, think, there’s gotta be something to do besides laying here being bored and in pain. I could do homework... no, my brain is definitely not up to that. I suppose I could still go running, actually combat my pains... No, I was right when I said that I really shouldn’t be out the night before a race. It would be so easy just to slip outside and go running, but it wouldn’t be worth it, and knowing my luck, I’d break both legs. So no. No running.
Okay, no running, no homework, nobody awake to text or hang out with... Is there any food around?
Now we’re getting somewhere.
I jump out of bed and turn the lights on, beginning a hunt for something edible. At this point, almost anything will do. Preferably something with copious amounts of sugar in it, but beggars can’t be choosers, and so when I finally stumble upon a two-thirds-full box of crackers, I decide it will have to do, and sit down on my bed.
Okay, I probably shouldn’t stuff my face, I have to make these last - after all, apparently this is all I’ve got to do for the rest of the night. I look at my clock, and slowly do the math to figure out how long ‘the rest of the night’ is - turns out, I’ve got six hours until my alarm clock is going to wake me up for the meet. Six hours of eating crackers.
No, surely I’ll feel a bit more tired in a little while, even my phantom pains shouldn’t be able to keep me up the entire night. I take another bite, these crackers are salted but that doesn’t quite make up for the rather bland taste; that’s probably why I never finished them. I actually can’t remember when I bought these, but it’s not like they go off. These things keep forever.
Actually, I do remember buying them, if only because of that line - I can remember being with Suzu at the store and picking up this box.
“Aren’t those a little bland?” she asked.
“Yeah, probably, but they’ll keep forever.” And so we bought them.
Good thinking, Miki.
Some time later, I finish all the crackers in the box, and toss the empty container in the trash. I’m probably an expert on crackers by now. I could show up their factory and get a job. That’s just how intensely I had been studying the taste of those goddamn crispy bread circles. But now, with them all gone, I’m back where I started - my left arm burning, unable to sleep, and bored out of my mind.
Well, I could try sleeping again.
After a few minutes of laying on my back and closing my eyes, I find that although I am slightly more tired than before, my phantom pains are still keeping me up. Great.
Well, time to figure out what to do next. I consider admitting defeat and just laying in bed some more, but something occurs to me: I bet the bathroom’s completely empty, since nobody’s up. I showered yesterday, but it was a quick one - I’ve got hours to kill, which is more than enough time to get some deep cleaning done. I could wash my hair, it’s usually too time-consuming to do during the week, but I’ve got all the time in the world.
I suddenly realize that, since the track meet is tomorrow, all this cleaning will probably be for nothing; races are some of the sweatiest events there are, especially since the weather has been rather warm lately. Still, even if I just end up getting dirty again, at least showering will be something to do. Deciding that it’s better than just laying here the whole time, I hop up and begin undressing, starting with the bandages on my stump, which are looking a little rustled after all of the messing around my left arm has been doing.
Finally undressed, I grab my towel, and am about to wrap myself up before realizing that it’s still kind of damp from my shower yesterday, which I guess isn’t too surprising - it’s only been a few hours, and with this warm weather, the air is more humid than usual. Oh well, so it’s a little wet, I’m taking a shower, a little water won’t-
Geez, that’s cold. Obviously as a result of it still being damp. Well, I guess I’m just gonna have to suck it up and-
Wait a minute.
I open my door just bit, poke my head out, and look to the right. Nothing. To the left. Nothing. To the right again, still nothing.
Well, I suppose being up at this hour has some
benefits. I wrap all of my shampoo and stuff up in my towel, wedge the fluffy bundle under my left arm, and after a few more cautious looks, swing my door open and sprint for the bathroom with my right arm over my chest, partly out of fear and partly because running would get kind of unwieldy otherwise.
The bathroom door doesn’t open quite
as quickly as I would’ve liked, but it turns out not to matter - as expected, there wasn’t anyone out in the hallway, and nobody’s in here, either. Victory. I stride over to the showers, taking as much time as I want, laughing in the imaginary faces of other people who don’t get to shower because they’re too busy sleeping.
That said, I kind of wish I could be sleeping. I’d trade this shower for some sleep. And all those crackers I had. And... Whatever else I could possibly offer if it meant getting some shut-eye. Oh well.
I turn on the shower, and set it to be as hot as possible. After scorching myself a little when I try to step into the stream of water, I decide to turn it down a little, but not much, and a few careful alterations to the shower controls later, I finally begin to enjoy a long, hot shower.
Showering with phantom pains is a strange feeling - my left arm can feel water running along my stump, but also the pains where my left hand used to be, and the mixture of sensations is a strange one. Not that it helps very much, I still have to stop and clutch my left arm every once in a while, but during the calmer moments I can appreciate everything, including how quiet it is at this time of night, even with water splashing on and around me. Hell, if I weren’t in intense pain every now and then, this could be a rather serene moment.
One of the first things that comes to mind about showering with nobody around is that I could probably sing, but I decide against it - I might wake somebody up, and right now, I wouldn’t want to deny anyone sleep. I hope Hisao got to sleep, he mentioned insomnia but didn’t really say how bad it was, so he could be going through everything from waking up for a few minutes on occasion to... Well, to being awake all night with nothing to do. Except eat crackers and shower.
Let’s hope he’s not quite this bad.
~ Next: Vigil