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to sleep, didn't dare. Fully awake I was and awake I stayed, tensely alert, ears big, eyes bigger, awaiting the safe return of the snatched. RESIDING IN PARKER DoRM AT THE VERY SAME TIME, a co-ed who embodied what lay in store if only I'd known or cared how to interpret the image, decipher the code. An onsite, ongoing model of a girl and sleep prematurely parted. English honors student Susan, her nominal bed on the south side of the dorm, adjourned to the second-floor study room around 10 p.m. weekdays and weekends. With her books, notebooks, pens, pencils, highlighters, paper clips and six-pack of Tab, she settled on one of two hideous vinyl couches for the duration. The study room, stark, sterile and morgue grim, was long, narrow, lit by fluorescence and echoy. The floor: black and white scuffed linoleum. The walls: institution green. The single window: bereft of curtains. Above that naked window, an oversized wall clock. Otherwise not a photograph, not a Van Gogh print, not a clothes hook to break the monotony of the space that surrounded honors student Susan, sitting by her lonesome, hour after hour, dressed in fluffy bathrobe and fluffier slippers, clock ticking, florescence buzzing, window panes hugging night. An insomniac in an insomniac's lair. UNRESTRAINED SPLURGING WASN'T THE REASON my money ran short in Europe. I seldom ate in restaurants, stayed mostly in hostels and, to scrimp further on lodging costs, took a lot of overnight trains. Whereas French and German trains zipped along, Spanish trains proceeded at a pace that seemed to extend rather than conquer night. En route to Barcelona, I shared a compartment with five others, some of those snacking to pass the time, others sleeping or faking the checkout. Whenever I closed my eyes and tried to relax into the jiggle and sway, the songster seated next to me leaned over to spit-croon: "Ooo, baby, baby, issa wile world." My Spanish being what it was-pathetically inadequate- ! couldn't say For the love of God, shut up and let me sleep! Nor could I think of the Cat Stevens equivalency in English. And so the Spanish night wore on, sleep and I separated by song. IT WAS IN ITALY, IN FLORENCE, that l caught the nasty cold that morphed into chills and fever. Usually ultra-diligent about sticking to my sightseeing schedule, this day I couldn't muster the energy for art or architecture, however majestic. The room I dozed in played host to several cots in addition to my own, a portion of a private home given over to commerce, but after breakfast the other occupants had cleared out for the day and I was alone. The landlady transacted business in the front parlor, where several of the local lads also lounged, checking out the foreign traffic. I didn't hear the door open. I didn't hear the journey, door to cot, but I could identify 110

FUGUE#3l

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho