#005: My Morning Story

This was originally written as a submission for My Morning Story, a online project co-created by my friend Madeleine Rebbechi.

. . .

Friday 7th September, 2012:

Setting the alarm tone on my mobile phone took a lot longer for me than it probably does for most people. Despite its designated task, I didn’t want a tone that was too alarming, that would startle me awake in a cold sweat. In the end, I settled for a inoffensive guitar strum – upbeat, but not up-tempo.

The carefully thought-out decision, alas, turned out to be a moot point. What I actually wake up to at 7:00am is a sharp buzz that seems to infiltrate my very being, bitch-slap me at my very core – the phone suddenly vibrating against the thin plywood of my bedside table. A split second later the fake guitar starts its electronic shrill, mocking me with looping cheeriness that yet another working day has arrived.

I need the alarm because have never risen naturally at this hour. Rather, I need to be wrenched forcibly from the murky depths of my slumber. Waking up this way usually feels like I’m being revived back into consciousness after having been knocked over the head with some heavy object. I wake with my eyes crystallised shut with “sleep” and a terrible saccharine taste thick in my throat. I don’t ever feel like I’m properly alive again on these working mornings until at least 11:00am – and all my shifts begin at 9:00am.

My head full of static and silt, I force my body to roll over and switch my alarm to snooze. Most mornings when I do this, I am immediately assaulted by the too-bright light of my bedside lamp – accidentally left on throughout the night after I’ve fallen asleep whilst reading. This morning is no different. Blinded, I fumble for the lamp’s off-switch. I roll back towards the wall, trying to cocoon myself from reality beneath my warm doona.

But crap – I forgot! The goddamn alarm is still ringing. It feels like so much energy is required to roll back over and turn it off. The only reaction I can muster from myself is emitting a long, guttural, cave-woman style groan.

Then the first coherent thought for my day gently emerges from the dark fuzz clouding my brain:

This is your last morning.

This is the last morning I will have to wake up this early – the last morning I will have to awake unnaturally, to an alarm. This is the last morning I have to shuffle off, yawning resentfully over the sleep-in that I’m never allowed to give myself, to a stressful job that I loathe.

I shrug myself back over to my bedside table and pick up my phone. It’s 7:02am, and – for the first morning since I can remember – I am smiling.

It’s time to face my last morning.

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