I wake up to someone choking me. Where am I? I think. My eyes burst open, scan the room for clues. I see a broken television, a small pile of books, a photo of young Harmony Korine with a gun to his head. It looks at once familiar and foreign. Is this my room? I think, before realizing that yes, it most certainly is. Why didn’t I recognize it? From behind me a pair of cold hands are gripping my throat. I turn around suddenly. I see the face of a boy I sort of recognize, but not really. Bloodshot eyes, olive skin, crooked teeth.
“What are you doing?” I shout, yanking his hands from my neck.
“I thought you said you liked being choked?” answers the mysterious boy, seemingly confused. We hold an awkward yet deep stare for a fleeting moment, then break.
“Uh, yeah, I do…” I stutter, “but like, during sex. Not just randomly while I’m sleeping.”
“Oh…” his cheeks fill with blood.
“Remind me who you are,” I say.
I’m your housemate Dante’s friend. Here visiting from Italy. You said I could crash in your bed, don’t you remember?” I’m drawing a blank.
“Yeah, I remember,” I say. “Sorry, I’m just… hungover.” He answers with a slow smile, then struggles to a stance and eagerly marches away, toward the kitchen. “I’ll make the tea,” he shouts over his shoulder as he disappears into the dimly lit warehouse. From afar I can hear a kettle begin to boil. That was strange, I think. Is he a psycho or just foreign?
I flop backwards onto my bed. That was the third time this week I awoke feeling wholly confused. Am I just drunk? I wonder, or could this be a symptom of something more profound? I feel paranoid. Lately I can barely sleep. I dream in bursts, wake up inexplicably throughout the night in a cold sweat. I can’t remember where I am. I experience erratic fantasies of nonexistence. What does it mean?
My friend Little Matthew is a hypochondriac. With him there’s always a new mole that could be cancer, an itch that could be scabies, a vague feeling in the air that is positively, without a doubt, most definitely impending doom. Whenever he enters one of his panicked states I just roll my eyes, tell him he’s making too much of things and move on. Until recently I never sympathized with the fact that the horror he was feeling was real. Fear may be irrational, but it’s also really fucking scary.
In a couple weeks I’m moving back to New York. Indefinitely. I’m trying not to think about it. I can’t really go into it at the moment, but let’s just say it’s not exactly my decision. I’m sort of looking forward to the change, I guess. What I’m most worried about is: what am I going to do without London’s endless supply scrawny, sexually confused, beautifully lost boys? In New York everyone’s so career minded ; it can be a crushing bore. Plus like 95% of the dudes have beards. Nightmare.
If New York doesn’t work out, as a back up plan I’m moving to Celebration, Florida. It’s a city the Walt Disney Company created out of the pure desire for absolute evil and control. There’s a road that leads directly from the center of town to Magic Kingdom. I’ve been obsessed with it for the last twenty minutes. Taking virtual tours on YouTube.
But rewind back to me, in bed, waiting patiently for a nameless Italian boy who may or may not have tried to kill me five minutes ago. After a moment he returns, holding two cups of tea. He’s sort of goofy, not atrocious looking. He perches himself at the end of the bed. “You know what I love most about London?” he says.
“British girls,” he smiles. “They’re so crazy. Like you.”
“But I’m not Brit—“
“Like last night,” he erupts, “you told me to wake you up choking you, then this morning you say otherwise. You’re playing with me, yes?”
I would make the effort to argue otherwise, but…