Living in my old room at my parents house in my hometown. It’s been awhile now, the once bright turquoise carpet is starting to grey with my walking patterns. I spend a lot of time here, in this 10’x10′ room. I’m thinking about taking the closet doors off so there’s more space to move my mostly bare work desk into. Maybe my clothes racks could take up the far wall, I’d stare at them while half asleep instead of the desk and its neglected aquarium. The desk itself is bare unfinished wood, and a chair from my grandfather with a bullet hole in it (this references a real chair, with family lore). The room’s drywall is partially stripped open and I can read the builder’s notes, examine how they made the house. Yet despite the circumstances I’m thankful.
It’s early morning, maybe 7:15, and I’m up after a fitful night. I’ve been awake intermittently, idly staring at my fish tanks opposite my bed. The one across from me has been set up a long time, and I realize I’ve not done a water change. The betta inside bobs at the surface, breath
ing through its mouth. Amazing that it’s still alive, really. I look up the proportions of water to peroxide to salt that I need to use, filling my arms with the supplies, hobbling back to my room in the dim interior of the pre-dawn house. I hear my wife laughing behind the door of the next room over and talking to our pet rats (I can’t recall why we’re separate, but this arrangement has also lasted a while). I realize it’s only been maybe three hours of interrupted sleep I’ve had. But I’m happy I’m finally taking care of the aquariums again, now that I noticed and had the energy. A humbling dream. Humbling, but grateful. I wake up with a smaller ego.