Serious symptoms have manifested themselves. Whole body muscle spasms that arrived last night as I tried to go to sleep. Was in bed by 2210. Not sure when I actually got to sleep, but I know that I awoke multiple times in the night.
Went to stay at a hotel for a work trip, the room- on a floor number unknown -was reached by means of an outside scaffolding lift, one that I thought of with complete assurance as a ‘dumb waiter’ even though it was no such thing.
The stairwell was dry yellow, the walls with peeling paint and seemingly endless as I went up and down them, dressed in a full three piece black and grey suit. Odd that I should be on the stairs at all, when I was using the outside dumb waiter to get to the room. I carried a briefcase, or valise, which presumably held my clothes as well as work papers.
I met a family in that room, grew to learn to live with them. A big boned woman and her two children, a little boy and girl. They may have been twins, but the dream just said they were hers, not if they were anything else.
We had a picture of us all taken and I put it on the dressing table beside the single bed. They didn’t stay in that room, but in another somewhere else in the hotel.
At an ungodly hour, I left the hotel to go to work for some overtime hours. I don’t recall ever changing out of the full suit, but I know that I carried the valise/briefcase everywhere. Hitting the streets on foot, I wound my way along arcane bus routes that had no logical direction until I caught the right one.
Street-lamps shone sulphur red on the sidewalk* and pale was the sky, like static filtered through the blue-white of a clear November evening. My old colleague met me en route and we approached the office together.
It was a towering building, practically an eyesore. I remember that well. Blockish and wider than it was tall, sloping to one side so that it had a diagonal overhang at the front, all windows in rows on every side.
Inside, we were the only two people in the entire department. I took off my jacket and rolled up my sleeves, adjusted my grey waistcoat and black striped tie. Tired, I yawned as I sifted through the pile of post. A whole catalogue of letters from people with terminal illnesses. I had to reply to them all, as if I was an agony aunt for a popular newspaper.
I fell asleep at the desk for an hour, and when I awoke my colleague was gone. I wondered if I would still get my overtime pay, what with having fallen asleep, which was no doubt recorded on the CCTV of the office.
There was no such thing as time following that, only the void.