Across the rolling mounds of duvet, I clamber. The cold night, a welcome break. Yet it makes the travel harder, I can tell you. Negotiating sliding piles of cotton cloth cast-off. In this wild setting, you can virtually watch chaos theory in motion. A tumbleweed of midis, briefs and boxers settle to a stop, as I slide from the bed to floor. My footing will be strong now, if I can only ignore the ache in my spine.
Bleary eyed I stumble through the vast, open hallway. Traversing stairs, weaving coffee tables – guided only by the distant stand-by lights of living room electronics. I feel around the wall and negotiate the single step – it won’t catch me out tonight. As I start the tedious task of collecting water, I hit the first challenge. The glass in my hand is still warm from the dishwasher, this environment is ever testing.
A shake off the panic and run the glass under the tap. There is always a solution. I take stock for a moment but my nerves are rattled and the silence is starting to eat at me. In the lonely darkness, I do the only thing I can think to break it.
“Alexa, tell me a joke.”
The result – a heartbreaking sense of separation from humanity, an alienation that almost breaks me. But, no. I’ve been here before. I can make it.
I wrap my fingers around my eyes. A makeshift shield for the assault to come. It takes all the strength I have, but I manage to separate the fridge seal with a satisfying sigh from both me and it. Then; blinding light, numbing cold. The jug of water comes into focus through the cracks between my fingers.
Finally, the water rushes down. It strips the sandpaper feeling from my throat and replenishes me.
This is what I travelled for. This is what I needed to survive.
Practised, I take a moment to consider the best route back and decide to make camp on the sofa – if only for a while.
I am the nomad.