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Nasri Atallah: 'The Room'


The Room


The alarm clock went off and I ignored it for as long as I could, its piercing shriek revelling in the violation of my eardrums. It was too far away for me to hit the snooze button. I did that on purpose returning from a drunken night, placing the clock just out of reach. The relentless buzzing would eventually levitate me out of bed and over to the annoying little appliance, where I would smack it into pained silence. 

 I got up. I smacked. I was awake.

 The sunlight was edging its way through an imperfection in the cheap Swedish curtains. A ray of absurdly bright light rested on the tattered edges of an unloved Tom Waits record. Which made me sad. 

 I pulled apart the curtains, opened the creaky window, and let the city invade my room. 

 I stumbled over to what was left of my mirror. A pitiful reflective shard of myself staring back at me. 

 I walked back to the window to look down at the people who shared this city with me. The people who made every day a series of mediocrities.

 The unreformed murderers masquerading as businessmen in borrowed suits and debt-laden cars. The voluptuous bimbos floating around in an inexplicable mix of vacuity and despair. 

 Then I stopped. It was too early to be contemplating. Maybe I should start by getting the dirt out the corners of my half-opened eyes. Maybe I should scrape the smell of whatever it was I drank last night out of my being. 

 But I stayed at the window. Numb. Detached. Just there, really. I saw a bit of paint from the building’s facade peeling off from the edge of the window frame. So I helped it along in its decay. I poked at it. I pulled. I tore.

 The crumbling face of the building looked pretty enough from across the street, but from here I could see how worn it was. I peeled off a satisfying chunk of paint, cement and matter. 

 And I let it fall to the street below.


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