The curtains were closed, but the light of the day managed to elbow its way into the room regardless. His eyes shifted slightly to the left, and his eyebrows moved towards each other in disapproval of the muted luminance. It was not for him.

Not today.

He lay on the bed, eyes wide open, right arm draped across his forehead, the covers pulled down to his navel. He blinked occassionally but otherwise remained motionless.

Would that the inside of his head could do the same. The thought almost made him laugh, but laughing, too, was not for him.

Not today.

He lay for long minutes, and long minutes turned into long hours, and the light shifted and changed and moved about the room, but other than casting the occassional disapproving glance, he was unaffected.

At some point the phone in the living room rang. The answering machine kicked in. Another version of him spoke inane platitudes about getting back to the caller at some unspecified time. A beep sounded. Another muted voice spoke, the concern in the tone audible even though the words weren't.

He sighed. He'd thought the machine would be full by now. He was sick of hearing muted voices speaking inaudible words in concerned tones. He didn't want to talk to anyone.

Not today.

At length it was his own body that betrayed him. His stomach began to rumble, and he knew he was going to have to get up and eat something, if only to shut it up.

He threw back the covers and swung his legs over the edge of the bed, the hairs on his bare legs standing up with the sudden coolness of the air. He rubbed his eyes, stood, and trudged wearily towards the bathroom.

The hot spray of the shower felt good, and he stayed under it for a long time. A small part of him, a tiny tucked-away part, held out a glimmer of hope that the stream of water would wash out the inside of his head as well.

This thought, too, was mildly amusing, but still he didn't laugh.

Not today.

He dried himself off and put on his jeans and a shirt. The cobwebs remained in his mind, but moving through his environment was at least allowing him to look at objects other than his bedroom ceiling.

He opened his refrigerator and stared gloomily at the vast, unchanging tundra of nothingness that greeted him. An old bottle of salsa, a few cans of ginger ale, and a wilted head of lettuce were all that remained from his last trip to the grocery store. The freezer told a similar tale.

His stomach was still grumbling at him. Dead lettuce dipped in salsa was not going to satisfy him.

He slammed the fridge shut and moved into the living room. The display on the answering machine was now flashing "16".

Sixteen messages? He hadn't thought the damned thing could hold that many.

He turned away from the electronic representative of social discourse and sat down on the sofa. He put his face into his hands and breathed. He could barely think straight. His mind had so thoroughly betrayed him that he was surprised he'd even been able to clean and dress himself.

But if he didn't venture out and buy some food, he would starve to death. The prospect of death didn't bother him, but the thought of a slow and uncomfortable death was enough to get him off the sofa and moving towards the entry hall.

The End

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