This is my brain. This is my brain on postmodern literature, caffeine and insomnia. Any questions?


It was almost evening (but not quite; a late, sleepy sort of winter afternoon) by the time you'd moved the last of the boxes into the dusty flat, and you stood there and watched dust drifting in the sunlight near the window; you were leaning back against the wall, with the palm of your right hand pressed to the peeling paint. There wasn't much in the room; just a stack of cardboard boxes in a corner and furniture (a bed; a table teetering on three-and-a-half legs; a chair or two) which looked both unfortunate and desolate; a grimy, fingerprint-smeared print of some forgettable landscape hanging askew on the wall; dust, dust, dust. You'd kicked your old school trunk (knife-scratches across the lid where you'd tried to dig out a family crest and failed) into the corner in a fit of pique, and it lay there, open and slightly forlorn and spilling rolls of parchment onto the sawdust-laden wooden floor. The whole place was unfinished, all creaking beams and splinter-ridden planks, lit by the dim and slightly hazy glow of a single Muggle lightbulb swinging from the ceiling.

It was still light when you'd started unpacking, and so instead of continuing you pulled on your jacket and wandered around the streets watching the shadows getting longer. The hallway outside your door which you'd passed through on leaving was shadowed, brown, cobwebbed; it smelt of gravy and cigarette-smoke, and the floorboards creaked noisily as you walked over them. You didn't know the people behind the identical locked doors along the corridor, but as you passed by you could hear conversations and laughter and snatches of distorted music.

Outside, the sky was grey and gloomy and it looked like it was about to rain, but there was no wind and no movement and nothing except for the sound of your own footsteps and your own breathing. The air was bitter, bitter cold, and you turned up your collar. You hadn't realised that you were laughing, but you were; a lonely sound.


It's still dark when you wake up, and you wonder for a moment whether you had even slept at all; you miss your footing as you clamber out of bed, and crash to the floor in an inelegant tangle of gravity and limbs. Waking at unearthly hours is a trait you can't entirely rid yourself of; in your parents' house you'd sit by the window and wait for daylight; a muffled thump on the ceiling would mean that Regulus had fallen out of bed again. Occasionally you'd fall asleep again before the sun had even begun to rise, but most of the time you'd sit very still and listen to what you imagined might be the sound of a city awakening.

Today, the sky is bleached-grey, water-coloured, and the streets are cold and quietly frosted-over; the morning is still in the way that a tense breath held is still, and you like it and you don't like it. It's a waste of a morning which could have been much more alive.

The afternoon is dust-filled and slightly sombre, and the wind idly rattles the windows in their wooden frames, punctuating the silences with creaks and bangs. You're balancing (slightly precariously) in the three-legged chair, half-in and half-out of a beam of light from the window. It's not the most sensible thing you could be doing, but it presents itself and that's enough.

Then: it's evening, and you've lit three candles because you can't quite figure out how the lightbulb works. It's dark, so very dark. James arrives with a lopsided grin and a long lecture-by-proxy from Lily and a large bottle of Firewhisky; he claims use of your sole unbroken teacup by guest's right, and you drink from a cracked saucer and later from the bottle.

By the time the moon is fully out, you are both exceedingly drunk, and for a surprisingly long while it is neither winter nor wartime.


Tomorrow doesn't exist yet, or perhaps it does: some vague, unformed blur of city-streets-people-life-death waiting to be given life and shape. Either way, you can't know or define or characterise it; perhaps you'll track in muddy water from the rain-soaked streets or perhaps you'll watch the sun set through the fingerprint-smeared window, or perhaps you'll laugh, or shout, or hunt for a job, or stand outside in the biting cold until your fingers are completely numb. They're all disparate events that thrown together make a day of sorts, but trying to see them now would unmake them, nothing slipping past the imposition of unwanted structures.

At least you know this much: the sky will probably be grey, overcast. The city will probably be cold. The streets will probably be lonely. The world will probably be falling apart, inside.