On Wednesday morning Nervous Thomas was awoken by the sounds of his roommate masturbating. Ordinarily Thomas had a dedicated routine, which he found warded off his more crippling panic attacks until the middle of the day, but with Heryll’s quiet panting and the distinct tremble of the mattress Thomas quickly realized his usual comforts were not an option.
Thomas lay as still as he could, not wanting to alert Heryll to the situation he had unknowingly created, and began to hold his breath. On the other side of the room, behind the linen sheet which hung from the walls as a divider, Heryll continued, apparently in no hurry to finish.
After a few minutes had passed Thomas was trembling, panic flowed up through his aching, stiff, joints. Oh God. Oh Shoot. Wait. Relax. Fine. Just wait. Oh God. It took all of his swiftly dissolving resolve to not glance over, the effort itself made him even more uncomfortable, and he wanted nothing more than to sit down in the shower and dry heave- as he did many mornings.
As a staccato creaking began to emanate from the bed frame Thomas thoughts began to wander, he was not becoming more relaxed, but was beginning to fixate on his distraction. This has to be first time this has ever happened. I wonder when he’ll be done. I hope I can use the bathroom first, maybe I should wait. When does he shower? Absent-mindedly Thomas rolled onto his side, and instantly made a barely audible exclamation of dismay. With the unique degree of psychic focus masturbation engenders, Heryll was utterly oblivious to Thomas throaty cry, and simply continued on, his pace steady.
Isn't he running late by now? I wonder if he has to go to school… or to work. He’s always here when I leave, but never here when I get back. What does he do all day? The rhythmic thumping and breathing- staggered by periodic pauses and deep shuddering exhalations- had finally turned hypnotic and soothing, and as Thomas lay quietly, an unwilling audience, he realized just how little he knew about his roommate.
I’ve never asked him anything about himself. Ever. Thomas did not know where Heryll was from, what his job was, if he had a job. And while he could guess at his age, Thomas realized that he had absolutely no idea what Heryll was doing here. As the irregular creak of the bed jolted him from his thoughts, and Heryll’s shallow breathing continued apace, there was, for Thomas, a newfound degree of intimacy and comfort between them. Albeit it only on one end. It was as if they had shared a quiet -one sided- conversation. A conversation devoid of interpersonal pitfalls, like overhearing a phone call, or reading a diary.
As Heryll shuddered to completion Nervous Thomas thought excitedly of all the things he could finally ask. He felt propelled into a new realm of socialization by the deeply personal experience. There was a sudden, desperate, freedom. The former anxious fear of communicating with his roommate replaced with a confident determination to make a friend. Thomas lay still, eyes straining to remain closed against his excitement, as Heryll slowly dropped out of bed and began gingerly grouping for a dirty towel.
I have so many things to ask!