Most people may have told you that the worst feeling in the world was heartache; or possibly grief, or sorrow, or a stubbed toe. Not me. I would have told you that the absolute worst feeling was waking up in a morning and feeling tired.
Stubbed toes aside, most of those other feelings had inspired numerous works of art and literature. The only thing tiredness had ever inspired was a deep desire to go back to bed. Besides, no matter what emotional pain a person went through, they could at least find some small way to deal with if they were awake. But being tired, that was one of the few things in life with the power to render a person completely and utterly useless.
Especially if that person happened to be me.
I couldn’t deal with tired. It always felt as though thick gunk were seeping from some black swamp at the back of my brain, gluing all my thoughts together in one big mush before slowly trickling downwards, oozing out beneath my eye lids and doing its damndest to weld them shut. As it did, my veins would rattle inside me, bubbling and throttling, spitting and snarling until they were soothed by a breakfast of coffee and cigarettes.
Whilst I waited for such sweet poison to take effect, I would stumble around the house like a moron. I’d put the cornflakes in the fridge and the milk in the cleaning cupboard. I would take a fresh pair of boxers from my bedroom drawer, set them down and then misplace them six or seven times before putting them on backwards and almost falling over myself as I did so. Nor it was it particularly uncommon for me to blast hairspray under my arms and furniture polish in my hair.
Of course, Nancy would often take great pleasure in my early morning mishaps. Yes, it frustrated her some that for the first hour or so of each day I could only communicate to her via time-delay; responding to her every question or comment by staring at her vacantly for half a minute like some gormless idiot, then muttering something vaguely resembling words. Yet it also came as a source of great hilarity for her when I would leave for work only to come sloping back several minute later because I’d forgotten to swap my slippers for my shoes or –I shit you not- made it most of the way to work with my dressing gown still on.
If she had been any normal person, she might have understood how I became rendered numb by fatigue on a daily basis, but Nancy was not a normal person at all. She was a Morning Person.