Hypothetical beginning: milk causality


In the distance I start to hear a high-pitched noise that gets louder and louder, getting closer and closer. “Bibip-bibip!” What is that!? “Fuck!”, it’s the alarm clock. I open my eyes, roll over in bed, turn to the left. What day is it today? I stretch my arm towards the bedside table. “Beep-beep!” The fucking alarm clock keeps going off. Ah yes, today is Monday. I hear something fall, it’s my watch, I bumped it looking for the alarm clock. I finally found the bitch. I turn it off. I lift my head slightly from the pillow. I’ve been awake for a few seconds, the day has just begun, and yet how heavy it is to get it up. The labors of Hercules are nothing in comparison. I look at the time: eight o’clock in the morning. I have always hated this time. In fact, I have always hated the hours before nine o’clock. I am at a crossroads; my future depends on the choice I make in the next tenth of a second. I am aware of this, it is so difficult to choose. I have only one consolation, a false consolation, but one that I cling to with all my might: there are ‘only’ two solutions: A and B. I have only been awake for 15 seconds, and yet I am already carrying the burden of the whole of humanity. Act or perish, live or die. In the face of death, one always looks for life. In the morning one always chooses the bed. Do I have a choice: do I pull my torso up, rub my face with my hands, to get rid of the first-morning mess? Or do I lay my head back on the pillow and return to the realm of Morpheus, continuing my journey into his world in search of lost worlds and characters? Morpheus calls. I want to answer. Eighteen seconds: eighteen seconds that I am awake. The morning light filters through the window, I never pull the blinds down completely. Inside I begin to focus on things, I realize it is morning. It is Monday and it is eight o’clock. I have to escape from Morpheus and his plots. With a burst of energy that I thought I didn’t have, I pull my torso up and free myself from the covers. It’s cool, I have a hint of goosebumps on my body, feel the hairs stiffening on my arms. Usual routine every morning, I’ll never learn to sleep with anything heavier than my usual tank top and shorts on. 

I look to my right, Hannah is not there. I’m the only one in bed, a castaway on a deserted island in the middle of the room. Outside in the street, you can already hear the sound of traffic and the world waking up, the world is always awake, it never sleeps. I’m on the thirteenth floor and yet the sound of the horns reaches all the way up here. It wasn’t like that where I used to live. I think about my old house, my old city in a nostalgic way every morning, thirty-five seconds after the alarm clock goes off I have this thought, the nostalgia rises for a moment. I don’t want to leave that little refuge of peace and rest that was my bed for a few hours. 

I’ve been living in Tokyo for two years now, I’ve almost forgotten why I moved here. 

I turn my body to the right. Another choice. I have only been awake for 43 seconds and already I have to make my second choice of the day. I hate choosing, doing so means taking the possibilities from infinity to zero. It means actively determining the world. I think: choosing means living, maybe I don’t want to live. I look down at the floor. The time has come, I have to choose, which foot to put out of bed first: the right or the left? My whole existence depends on this choice. I have spent my whole life waiting for this moment; every single action, decision, experience I have made in the course of my existence has brought me here. On the edge of this double bed, staring at the floor, faced with a simple choice that carries the weight of the entire story of my existence. Right foot? Or left? “Fuck it!” as far as it matters, it’s only one foot.

I choose the right one, I can’t see the left slipper. The floor is cold, floors are always cold. I put my foot in the slipper.

I look around, where has the left slipper gone? A slipper without its companion is a useless slipper. It’s under the bed, I know it’s under the bed, it always ends up there, I don’t know why. 

I keep looking around for what I don’t know. I try to focus, I feel tired, infinitely tired. Last night I slept my classic eight hours, it’s good for the brain and the body, or so the doctors say. 

The only thing I know is that Hannah isn’t here, that’s all I can think about. Why isn’t she here? Did she leave early this morning? Maybe she didn’t sleep here. I try to force myself to remember, but I can’t. What did I do last night? I can’t remember.

I get out of bed; I look under the bed for the other slipper. The damned one under there is not there. With one slipper and one not, I go to the window. It is a large window, I like it very much. I look at her and think that if she were a person I would probably love her. It’s silly, but I often impersonate objects like people, and yet they are only objects. Every step I take is heavy and yet so light at the same time, is that possible?

The window is almost as long as the whole wall, there is no terrace, the flats on this side of the building do not have one. The reason I like that window is because of the view: it is a view that at first glance would seem quite anonymous, millions of windows around the world can offer such a view, at first I didn’t notice it that much. I have been in this flat for seven months now. I used to stay in a one-bedroom apartment in Kashiwa, I prefer it here. Now I have moved to Shinjuku district on the other side of Tokyo. I began to notice the view from my window only in late autumn, outside you can see the Kanda River and on the other side the Hosokawa Gardens. The trees had transformed, dressed in autumn colors, incredible shades of yellow and red everywhere. From where my flat is located you can enjoy it to the fullest. Every morning I lookout, and think about how that park will look in spring; with autumn comes the death of its trees, but with spring comes life again. Now it is winter and they are suspended in a flashy death, but in spring life is ready to burst forth again.

It is a clear day outside, the sky is blue, there is not a cloud. A few draughts enter through a few cracks, the air is cold. 

In the street people are already running, I try to look for Hannah in an almost resigned way; I know she’s not there, but I think of her and I can’t help but try. 

I just don’t understand where she is, what has happened to her? Why wasn’t she there in bed with me, ready to say good morning? She always says good morning to me, she’s so adorable when she does that, it always happens when we’re still in bed, just after the alarm clock has started ringing, we always find ourselves in front of each other, she looks straight into my eyes, little wrinkles form around her mouth when she smiles at me in the morning. “Good morning” she whispers to me in a very sweet voice, I don’t know where that sound comes from, but with that simple word, she makes me forget for a moment about my drift.

I try again to remember: but nothing, all my efforts seem useless, I don’t know where Hannah is. Around me no trace, not even a note, a note, a message, why? 

I keep looking out of my window, I start to feel a strange taste in my mouth, I don’t really understand what it is, but it’s not new. I know I know it very well, but I can’t really identify it. Then suddenly I understand, my stomach is rumbling. It’s milk, I taste the milk in my mouth. 

I love milk, it is perhaps one of the few constants that have always been in my life, I have never started a day without it. For 29 years milk has always been present in my breakfast, no matter how: cold, hot, in my cereal, in a separate glass, in my coffee, it doesn’t matter, but it has always been there. In life you need points of reference, for many, it may be their faith, or perhaps their work, for me it is undoubtedly milk. I turn my head towards the room, a slight grimace is created on my face by the previous thought, could I perhaps call my life a life of milk? I laugh. 

My gaze rests on the wood-colored bedside table next to my bed, the same one from which my watch has fallen, the same one on which my alarm clock is resting. 

I see my phone, right next to Kundera’s “The Farewell Waltz”, the novel I am currently reading. I’ve never been a technology ‘fan’, for me, a phone is a phone, once you can use it to make a call it’s fine. Other crap has never been that interesting to me. 

I could pick up the phone and write to her, but I don’t have her number. We had made an unspoken agreement that neither of us would give out the other’s contact details. We had only been seeing each other for a short time, just over a month, or so I seem to remember, everything seems so confused this morning. We both agreed, we felt we needed some lightness in our lives, and so to make it even lighter and somehow true, we had decided not to exchange our contact details, not even our last names. What does it matter, is it knowing one’s identity that determines one’s feelings towards another person? We had decided to give each other only our names form our identities in the world of masks. The rest we did not want to know. Within these walls, we would have entered the dimension of love, where it manifests itself. What use were our identities if we were ready to lose ourselves in each other? If we wanted to see each other, the pact was very simple: there is a bench in the old part of the city, in Ueno Park, just after the steps coming from the metro station. It is under a large cherry tree, slightly elevated, from where you can see the sun setting behind the street. A faint semblance of an extinct horizon. 

That was our meeting place, if we wanted to meet, we had to show up there just before sunset and wait for each other. That bench was the only place in real space where we had allowed ourselves to see each other. We didn’t want to poison our relationship with the world. But was that really the real world out there? Being with Hannah, I wasn’t so sure anymore. Many times before I met Hannah I had seen that bench, and it had always been indifferent to me, but from the moment I met her at sunset, it became everything. 

I turned away from the window and went to the bedside table to look at the phone. Nothing important, the usual flatness. I looked at the time, eight o’clock and two minutes. I thought the time was right. 

I opened the door and decided to leave the room.

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