• You awaken to the rhythmic pattern of lukewarm rain hitting the flat roof of your apartment. It currently is 2:45 pm. Petrichor aromas seep into the bedroom, melding with the sour-sweet stickiness of half-ingested energy drinks, long since abandoned and so flat a band director would have a nervous breakdown. This is further complimented by the musk of undisturbed piles of t-shirts and skinny jeans, caked in aging sweat and still cool with the air that tends to settle near the floor. Rolling off of your mattress, you tumble the short distance past your misaligned box spring and onto your carpeted floor. A few empty plastic bottles and previously unscathed aluminum soda cans break your fall, thankfully. You’ll have to acquire more soon, or the impending caffeine migraine might threaten your life. Disturbing them only forces you to acknowledge you won’t be returning to the silent relief of sleep until the sun gives up its usual racket later tonight. You, unfortunately, have no choice but to deal with the rest of the day.

    Your eyes pry open despite themselves. Another on a long list of betrayals you are sure you will not be forgetting any time soon. Your eyelids brush the dry, blurriness to the edges of your vision and you emerge from your comfortable pile of garbage with all of the grace of a newborn giraffe and fumble around to shut the window.

    You stand on your mattress in order to reach it and can feel thick, heavy summer air complimenting the light misting of your fingers that breaches the window screen. You can see rain bombarding the city like God accidentally hit the “flood earth” button again, but you can never quite get a full view of the street in front of the apartment complex. The window is too high up on the wall to adequately allow any person of any reasonable height to be able to view anything of note besides clouds, birds, and the occasional stray plane. You don’t pay any of these things any more mind than they pay you. To The birds and frequent fliers, Point Pleasant is another boring stretch of land and river, camouflaging itself amidst other stretches of boring land that remain less interesting the longer you look. To you, five years of this bedroom have blinded you to any interest in what goes on from this vantage point. Both sides of this exchange could stare directly at each other for hours and not feel a single thing if they felt so inclined. Things only become interesting when you can force yourself to look closer, rather than longer. Lots of things work this way. Feelings, even. Real understanding comes from interaction, not just experience. You are dazed for a moment, contemplating this.

    And just like that, you snap back to reality and manage to interact with the window. It slides down with a thud more satisfying than the hiss of its movement. It’s far from a perfect window, and so it never closes exactly the way you would think a window does. It defies your expectations long enough to annoy you and then stops the dew from further misting your poorly placed floor mattress. You slide the skirted black-out curtain to the right and soon all you can perceive truly is the electric hum of your gaming setup and the percussion of scattered showers on your roof. For a moment, you consider if rooftops tend to be slanted to deal with a noise like that, but the thought soon passes. You curse the fact that landlords rarely take comfort into consideration when slapping together a cheap apartment, then finally break from your scattered misgivings and take a full inventory of your surroundings.

    Small trickles of mostly muffled natural light find purchase in the edges of the curtain now behind you, mockingly highlighting sections of your mostly covered floor. The cascades of mostly black skinny jeans and crumpled band t-shirts are a delicate landscape for which mighty towers of empty (or half-empty) cans and bottles erect themselves, creating a bustling metropolis for mice, roaches, or other undesirables like yourself. Thankfully, none seem to have the income to move into such an inviting home, yet. The beautiful streets paved with magic the gathering cards and flavored nacho crumbs just don’t seem to offset the poor school systems and higher tax rates of an apartment on the top floor.

    You look around at some of your walls. As your eyes adjust, more and more of the familiar reveals itself to you. Band posters you secretly bought with your mom’s credit card are caked with dust and scattered across the various walls of your bedroom. Some are signed, and you can even still read them. Maybe you could sell one? You certainly could use the cash. Among them is a calendar full of naked women purchased by your estranged father in an awkward attempt to seem like “the cool parent” after the divorce, which only serves to fill you with evidence of a lack of understanding between you both. You try not to think of your dad often. Luckily, he rarely visits, so you don’t have to. Bullet dodged, you guess.

    A matt-black dresser that was white when it was purchased stands tall against the westmost wall, finally clear of the scent of drying spray paint. Manga panels you plastered to the drywall for “aesthetics” (back when you cared about how your bedroom made you look) crust at the edges, and would prove much harder to remove than just wallpaper, should your remaining family ever manage to move. While you try not to think about their feelings too much these days, somehow this small detail brings a tinge of shame. Best to move your thoughts along to younger diatribes. The last thing you want is to trigger another doom spiral before you can convince yourself to eat breakfast.

    Various vinyl stickers that normally would dress a car or skateboard seem to frame the edges of your enclosure. Above them, marking the perimeter of the room are strings of Christmas lights that haven’t worked in a few years, all formally shining the same, nondescript color. You take a moment to recall hearing that one burning out can ruin the whole string of lights, but you’ve never bothered to google if that was true or not, and you likely never will. They probably are a fire hazard, but honestly, the insurance money likely would only do your family well. The neighborhood might even be quieter, too. Look at that, win-win! The only downside you can think of is the idea that the aforementioned roaches may never find their holy land. Your mecca of garbage would vanish without ever having the chance to be missed.

    A red beanbag chair remains planted on the floor, permanently slumped in a deep exhale. It is glazed with the dull streaming of unnecessary LED lights, cascading a full spectrum of colors like a gay aurora borealis across its shiny faux leather. While the cold blue of the monitor has yet to join you in the land of the living, the inside of your glass computer case picks up any slack in the sensory assault modern gaming demands of its participants. You would almost be embarrassed by how loud this entire setup appears if it weren’t for the fact that you are so terribly proud of this electric monstrosity. You don’t even use it to game all that much, honestly. Why did you bother saving all that money for this piece of s**t in the first place?

    They say a bedroom can tell you a lot about a person, and yours only seems ever to tell you to take a shower. Great, now even your possessions are trying to lecture you. It’s like the entire planet has a fixation on refusing to let you be. You vaguely remember some stray fruit pasties in the freezer. Maybe they can tolerate you for a few minutes. You part the red sea of dirty clothes and empty dishes, wading through your filth to the unstained cedar door.