BLACK OUT CURTAINS
I could say I’ve lost my sense of humour. I woke up to the glare of the rising sun and the nerve-shredding sounds of a bird skirmish on my windowsill. Two pigeons were at it. Maybe a territorial thing. Or they could have been fucking, you never know. Fighting and fucking are closely related, driven by the same hormones. But I don’t find the pigeons, or the vicious sun, funny this morning. My body aches from sleeping, if that’s possible, or sleeping poorly, if that’s what poor sleep constitutes: awaking in pain. The psychological pain is a given. It has been there from the get go and persists to this day. But the physical pain is something new. I have painkillers for my tricky back, but my back is one of the few spots on my body that doesn’t feel beaten with mallets. Age may be the culprit, but I’m not a senior yet, I go to the gym, push weights. I’m no Hercules but I still can wear a pair of blue jeans and not look like my ass got caved in by a bazooka blast or eaten by a wild animal. My feeling is that when a man loses his ass he’s pretty much done, so I ride bicycle and crush the elliptical and do squats and squat-thrusts, to keep the butt youthful, that is to say, to keep the butt. I will admit that too many frozen dinners and pizzas have added a layer of unsightly adipose to my formerly trim waist but I plan to start a new diet soon, all natural, lots of grains and vegetables. A knock on my door, barely audible, makes me stop in my tracks. I slip on a bathrobe and look through the peephole. The super. I’ve only been here a week so I’m not that familiar with him. Hello, I say. Hello, he says, I was wondering if you have need of curtains. I do, I say. My bedroom has none. Pigeons woke me up this morning. The super smiles. One of his teeth is whiter than the others. He holds up black velvet curtains lined with gray fabric. These will totally black out the outside world, he says. You need a hand putting them up? With the aid of a battery-powered screwdriver, he quickly affixes a black curtain rod. Then we hang the black curtains. They’re impressive. When shut, even in the brightness of morning, they completely block out the light and engulf the room in a blackness so deep and pitched it’s almost startling. See that? says the super. I can’t see anything, I say. I can’t see him either, standing behind me, breathing.
Sam Difalco lives in Toronto