I’m awake. Aware of my breathing, aware of the difference between the dream that is over and the reality that will reveal itself to me as I’ll open my eyes. There is nothing stopping me from opening them, apart from the slight resistance of the sticky substance that tends to glue one's eyelids together during a good night's sleep. But then there's this game I’ve been playing with myself for the last couple of months. The rules are simple – not to open my eyes until I’ve figured out the exact location of where I am. It has proved to be a rather challenging task due to being on the move so much.
I rub my eyes a bit, they’re quite itchy and wet. Have I been crying in my sleep? I sometimes utter a very strange hollow sound in my sleep, I know it because it wakes me up sometimes. It usually follows a dream where someone tries to destroy me. Not kill, but destroy. They look at me, their face exerting superiority and determination and I know that before I’m aware of another thing in this world I will stop existing.
I don’t remember having such a dream last night. In fact I' m quite sure I had a pleasant dream with heated swimming pools involved. Perhaps the air is more humid where I’ve been staying this night? That would explain both the physical impulse for the pool dream, and the wetness of my eyes. Never dismiss a potential clue. Clue one – humidity. That does reduce the amount of geographical possibilities by some units of latitude and longitude.
Somewhere near the sea? On an island? In the South?
Clue two – the smell. There' s no smell of coffee and toast. Not at Martin’s then. Recently Martin's has been the most frequent answer to my little quiz. Unless Martin hasn’t woken up yet, but that is unlikely as even through my closed eyelids I can tell that it’s light outside, and the extreme case of insomniac that he is... no... It doesn’ t smell of Martin either. I stretch my left hand across the bed – no Martin, not enough space for him either as my palm hangs over the edge of the bed and catches the breeze from the window. The breeze and the wave of my arm have released a subtle cloud of perfume from my wrist. Acqua di Gioia. Armani. I have it in travel size. From the miniature sets that I end up buying against my own will whenever I get bored on the flights. Traveling?
Tactile clues...the sheets are starchy and of the kind of cotton that they have in the serene home design shops where one goes to daydream about their future home, their perfect ultimate temple of well-being and peace where the interior of their apartment will represent the interior of their soul and all other great stuff that dwells in the distant, and always constant, future. I sometimes walk into those shops on Marylebone high street and say hello to the sales assistants in a careless manner like I’m the most careless person on Earth, lightheartedly considering to buy a large amount of all those super soft but firm 100 % organic fair trade bed sheets woven by hand in accompaniment of ancient tribal songs underneath tropical sun, with an embroidery of a little crown which would compliment my palace-like house so well. One day such sheets will indeed compliment my palace-like houses very well, all four of them, not to forget the cottage. But that day belongs to the future and always will, which allows me to deduce that I' m not in in my current not-so-regal house.
There’s a fly on my arm. Walking, up and down. Sometimes it stands still and then I cannot tell whether it’s there or not until it starts walking again. I’ve always loved the feeling of a fly walking on my skin. Unless it’s trying to make its way up the nostrils, that’s taking it a bit too far. But it’s definitely welcome to take a walk on my arm. Over the time I've learned though that I should never tell anyone about the joy this brings me as people tend to get disgusted by my confession of enjoying a micro-massage by a germ-spreading insect. I quit my game, all I can focus on is following the trajectory of the fly on my arm. There’s another one now. Two flies. Do they think I’m a corpse? Flies feast on corpses don’t they? Now there's one on my face, walking from the corner of my eye down to the pillow, a hot fly leaving wet trace behind like a slug, which I realize is a tear before I realize I’m in a hotel because Martin wanted his funeral to be in this small southern town and because I don’t know anybody here. Which is good because nobody asked me any questions yesterday. Perhaps because they knew I would have no intention of answering them. Or perhaps because they knew the answers. Or perhaps they were actually kind people, which I refuse to believe...
There’s frankincense in Acqua di Gioia. Water of joy. There was a lot of frankincense in the chapel yesterday too. A very calming scent, and there’s a lot of it even in the travel size bottle, and I don’t need to check out of my room yet, I can try to fall asleep again before even opening my eyes. In fact I don’t need to check out at all if I don’t want to.
I have some money now. I won. I didn’t even kill him. I did destroy him though. But to stop existing - that was entirely his own decision, although it seemed like some of the people yesterday still had doubts about it. But it is true. And it's all cleared too, officially.
Now I have won again - in this game of guessing where I am. I’m in a hotel room in the South of France with my flies, with some perfume, some money, and some memories of a beautiful friendship.