This is the apartment that Jack rents.
This is the tap that sprouted a leak and drips all night in the apartment that Jack rents.
This is the job that requires Jack to sit at his desk - awake and alert, or, at the very least, able to give that impression - at eight-thirty in the morning, in spite of the fact that he'd only just fallen asleep at half-past six, because of a leaky tap that drips all night in the apartment that Jack rents.
This is the all-too-meager paycheck (most of which will go to pay the plumber) provided by the job at which he was really too tired to function because of the leaky tap that means no sleep in the apartment that Jack rents.
This is the seething resentment caused by Jack's complete lack of fulfilment caused by the meaninglessness of his work, which, really, is pointless busy work that serves no real purpose other than to give the impression of "busy-ness" and provide a body for his boss to be the boss of, to make the boss feel powerful by comparison, and could have been performed by even the most apathetic trained weasel, but is necessary to provide the paycheck to pay the plumber to fix the leaky tap in the apartment that Jack rents.
This is the drink that Jack drinks nightly to dull his senses and relax his nerves which are constantly on edge, since his thirtieth birthday is approaching, and what has he achieved? What, really, has he done that is worthwhile in the world? His father, when he was this age, had been teaching for five years and was married, and had a kid. No wonder Jack can't sleep at night. All Jack has is an ulcer burning in the pit of his stomach, the result of the drink and the resentment and the smallness of his paycheck and his job and the leaky tap that drips all night in the apartment that Jack rents.
This is the nameless woman that Jack brought home after having a few to dull the resentment he feels at making crap pay at a job he doesn't like to pay the plumber who still hasn't fixed the leaky tap in the apartment that Jack rents.
This is the panic that shocks Jack as he tries to remember the events of the night before. Who is this woman? Where did he meet her? What did he say? Christ, it's almost eight o'clock. He can¹t face waking her up and dealing with that whole conversation. But just leave her here? No. He wishes they'd gone to her place, then he could just sneak out. All of this is going through his head as Jack calls his boss (well, doesn't actually call, he goes into the boss's voicemail through the back door and just leaves a message) to say he'll be late, makes a pot of coffee, and starts to dress. He enters the bedroom with a cup of coffee for each of them, stands there in his undershirt and trousers, and stares for a moment at her shoulder, the only part of her he can see, beyond her hair on the pillow. He hopes she's pretty. He hopes she's pretty. His head is still pounding from the drinks - how many? - they'd shared the night before to numb themselves and their resentment of their low-paying menial jobs. That's something he knows about her. They share that. He stands and stares in silence, the only sound the dripping of the leaky tap in the apartment that Jack rents.
This is the terror that flickers dreamlike across the closed eyelids of the only-pretending-to-be-asleep woman, whose name is actually Jill, believe it or not, they'd laughed about that last night, so she knows his name at least, but beyond that she can't remember anything, and feels almost like she can't breathe, like she might be having a heart attack - what is she doing here? She's too old for this kind of thing! She hopes he'll just leave and then she can just leave. The not-knowing fills her with a panic that - unbeknownst to her - precisely mirrors Jack's own feelings as he stands just inside the door to the bedroom, coffee cups rattling in his shaky hangover hands, wondering should he wake her? He must. How? Clear his throat? Just say good morning? Touch her visible shoulder - is the skin as soft as it looks? Strange that such an action could seem so intimate, too intimate for a stranger, when - who knows what went on the night before? Was he good? What is she going to expect from him now? He can¹t stand here forever. If only because he can¹t brush off work totally. Not today, not payday. Okay, just do it, say "good morning." Do it. Now. Okay, on the count of three. One- two- Okay, now. Now. Then he realises she's probably naked. Probably? Of course she's naked! He can see her shoulder and a mess of dark brown hair and - suddenly uncomfortable - blushing even - Jack sets one cup of coffee on the bedside table, puts it down a bit harder than he intended, quickly leaves the room, almost hyperventilating because of the nameless woman and the alcohol and he's so late for his stupid job and he sits in the kitchen and stares at the droplets of water that gather slowly before falling from the leaky tap in the apartment that Jack rents.
This is the coffee that two people drink in separate rooms, in shared terror, unwilling to risk what they shared over drinks the night before, discussing, dissecting, dismissing their resentment and low-paying jobs for which they both are late. From which they both might get fired. It was easy last night at the bar with the booze and the music to fill in the spaces. All there is here is the sound of water dripping from the leaky tap in the apartment that Jack rents.
B R A V E S O U L S R E C E I V E
Archive of Recent Activities
Miroslav Kirin's Novel Is Now Available