Have I told you about the time

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  • Here's What It's Like:

                During the night, my bedroom fills with water. It starts trickling in around seven, with a quiet dripping sound like a faucet with a slow leak. By eight thirty, it’s a steady stream, and the water level is rising quickly. If I’m not in bed by nine, I’ll have to wade through it to get to sleep.

                So far, the water has never risen higher than my bed. I have never drowned. Some nights it gets as high as my mattress, soaking into my dreams so I wake up damp and cold, but that is all.

                Sometimes by morning it has drained back down to a few inches; no big deal to splash through when I wake up. But sometimes it will still be as high as my bedframe when my alarm goes off. I’ll roll over and dip my fingers into it over the edge of my mattress to see how cold it is. It is always cold.

                (I am not the kind of person who just jumps into cold water. At the beach or in a pool, I walk in slowly on my tiptoes, gasping and cursing each new inch of me that the water chills.)

                My things are always floating in the morning, books and old toys drifting here and there on the surface of my flooded room. Other things are submerged, pieces of furniture taking on new shapes in the murky gloom.

                If I stay in bed long enough, the water will go down. I’ll lay there and wait until it’s down to my knees, until my furniture emerges enough that I can avoid tripping on anything as I wade out. Eventually, the water recedes completely, and in the daylight I can use my room again, pick up my soggy books from where the water left them, turn my furniture the right way up. But the sun sets, and the water rises, and its tides are not predictable by any measure of the waxing and waning of the moon. Every night brings a new flood, and every morning is an aftermath.