The following morning

I wake, and instantly I am trying to find the reason for it. I listen, but it’s an unfamiliar silence that tells me nothing. For a moment I think that maybe I heard a door lock, and that this was what stirred me, but I can’t be certain. I look around me, noticing as I turn that my back feels stiff and full of complaint. The bed does not agree with me, but at least the cover is on my side and I cuddle up under it as I observe my surroundings. Nothing in the room belongs to me. Not even the shirt that is clinging to my body, having uncomfortably wrapped itself tight around me during sleep that I guess then was filled with dreams. Or nightmares. I keep listening as I look, but the silence is ongoing. I decide to stay in bed until I can label it as a comforting silence or as a threatening one, but a curiosity – or if it is a growing hunger – makes me eventually take that decision back. My bare feet touch a floor that is neither cold nor warm, but I know from experience that my body temperature falls further and quicker than other’s and I look around for clothes. There are none in here, so I exit the room in a state of undress, entering a living room that greets me with more of the same silence and unfamiliarity. There, however, on a chair are clothes I recognize as mine. Putting them on I harvest the sensation of comfort, but it’s short as they don’t provide as much warmth as my body needs. Next to the chair is a pile of more clothes, but I can’t discern their status. Are they newly cleaned, barely used or discarded and waiting to be washed? I hesitate, but there is a sweater that I think would fit alright, and that looks to be warm, so in the end I pull at it. The feel of it is alien, it’s in a material I never use myself, but my fingers rejoice from the soft touch so I pick it up. I smell it, carefully as it feels like a violation. I can’t smell laundry detergent, nor sweat, only a vague hint of something else. Someone else. Too faint to tell me if I like the smell or not, and after hesitating a few moments more I pull it on. Its embrace does something to me, almost gives me a feeling of belonging in this place, and so I push away the discomfort from wearing someone else’s clothes. Content with not freezing I explore the flat, starting with the bathroom. It’s big, and the inside of the shower is wet, telling me that it was used not long before I woke up. Pushing away another wave of discomfort I open the cabinet above the sink, momentarily removing the sight of my disheveled self as the mirror doors open, and I explore the insides. It’s sparse, unrevealing, but I find toothpaste and put some on my finger and rub it against my teeth. I wash my face but there is only one towel, looking wet, so I use toilet paper to dry myself. Feeling somewhat refreshed I face my reflection once more, causing it to frown, and I try to untangle my hair with my fingers to improve the view, but to no avail. I look longingly at the shower, noticing both shampoo and conditioner, but looking through the rest of the cabinets I find no additional towels, and my courage to look through other parts of the flat for any fails me, so I resign myself to my current state. It is comforting that the only mirror I’ve seen is in the bathroom. Finding my way to the kitchen, new waves of hesitation hit me. The only part of me that has no qualms is screaming, and in the end it’s its grumbles that have me open the fridge. Its insides almost as sparse as the bathroom cabinet, but there is cheese, and in a cabinet I find enough bread to feel comfortable taking two slices. I drink some water from the tap, and then I see that the tea kettle on the side is half full. I touch it, and it’s a little warm still, so I flick the switch to re-boil it. Next to the bread there were boxes of tea, and I return to them, trying to assess the different parameters of cost and taste. In the end I choose one of the cheaper looking boxes that still looks nice enough, finding a balance between not wanting to use the fanciest kind, and being most unwilling to drink just anything. It’s an herbal tea, the smell of it soothing me enough to smile as I sit down on the sofa with my breakfast. I take my time enjoying it, taking in the details of its taste together with the details of my surroundings – the cheese is one I’ve never tried, but I see albums I have listened to many times in the record collection. The tea reminds me of a similar flavor I sometimes buy, and I see books I’ve been meaning to read. The bread is a common supermarket brand familiar to anyone, while the pictures on the walls confuse me and are in languages I don’t recognize. When I’ve finished I try to establish if the silence that has kept me company throughout has found its way into a category. I can’t be sure, maybe it’s because of the tea, but it feels like it’s leaning towards comforting. I look out one of the windows, broadening the scope of unfamiliarity, and consider leaving. I know that if I did I would sooner or later start recognizing my surroundings, but I still hesitate. He did tell me to stay.


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