I can’t afford NY..image by Yana Toyber extract from Mark M. Whelan’s short story ‘Escapism’
Next morning he woke up late after an uncomfortable night sleep in his dirty sheets, unrefreshed, unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed. He awoke tired and empty and as he came to realize that the blur in front of him was actually his room. It was quite a large room in the projects yet was always cold and damp, he had tried to disguise the yellowed walls with posters of bands, girls and graffiti. Despite his attempts to improve the room he could not spend much time in there awake and straight; it barely saw the sun and the ceiling was low… the room was like a claustrophobic prison cell. The furniture was equally tatty; there were two chairs, a broken office chair that he had managed to recover from the street on Rivington right next to The Box and a brown seventies fold up chair for guests, a teak style finish desk next to his bed that supported his dusty stereo and a wooden pallet roll that was used to house thick underground cables had been converted into a television table. By the window lay a mattress without a base which served as a makeshift sofa and as a bed. He slept on it as if it were a sofa, fully clothed on many an occasion. The mattress was old and the springs had been depressed by his form over the years like a foot print in the snow, underneath the mattress was encrusted with stains from both his body, drink and food. Despite his bed being soiled, the room was not untidy, the few possessions that he had were carefully laid out, his c.d.’s were stacked alphabetically and his magazines were pilled on top of one another chronologically. It was a place where he existed, not lived..because this was not living, it was survival.
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