• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 03
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New Year’s Resolution

Danny lays on his bed. Outside, snow floats down under an orange, yellow sky. He thinks about lying here in this bed, in this small room, joined as it is on to all the other rooms, cellular, forming rectangles, joining other rectangles, spreading and spreading until they reach the edge of the earth.

He can’t move. He hears the others. There’s Sam’s voice, then another, deeper voice. Ed. Tall, bearded Ed, relentlessly clever, sporty, cool. Danny thinks of how hard he has tried to compete with Ed’s mellow, confident tones and endless surefire retorts. He burns with shame as certain memories crowd in, moments where he had tried too hard, where Ed had orchestrated the others to ever so subtly leave him out. Too late now to get it all back. His girlfriend, studying, his future.

He imagines magical arms, two huge hands coming in through the window and lifting him up from this bed cradling him gently out into the yellowy snow-clad day, taking him over the university city, past icy hills and up amongst forgiving white clouds.

He lays there paralyzed. He hears the others buzzing around, preparing for their day ahead. Songs come to his mind. "Help!" by the Beatles. He is trying to make himself laugh. He used to make the others laugh, or he thought he did. Did he? Shame burns.

“Falling behind? Come and talk,” say posters around the uni.

“Feeling depressed? Not sleeping? Mental health concerns?”


New Year’s Resolution

Danny stares at the ceiling and thinks well you’d be pretty bloody depressed if you were eighteen years old with a thirty-grand debt and nothing to show for it. He knows that really there’s bugger all wrong with him. What he’s suffering from is a severe case of reality. He sees now he’d latched on to Ed and Sam too quickly. But no one tells you this stuff. And the minute he got how very different from them he was, it was too late. How do you suddenly make a new group of mates when you’re stuck living with ones you don’t like and who don’t like you?

Up till now life's been great. Friends? Studying? No problems. And sleep? Well. He stares at the ceiling. This is down to him. He knows he’s got to sort it. He’s been numbing out because if he doesn’t sleep, he can’t think and if he can’t think he doesn’t have to face stuff. Easier to go out or stare at a screen, connected to something. Day never ends or begins, no off switch. Yet lately his tiredness imprisons him.

Then, yesterday he reads this research saying, if for five weeks you decide to get up at say 9 a.m. every day, no matter how little sleep you’ve had, then you will break the cycle of insomnia. Five weeks. Can he summon the strength to try? Because the one thing he does know about himself is that when he does go for something, he persists until he succeeds.