choose your own adventure

Stay In

You have decided to: stay in
November 16, 2018, 12:56pm
What ur waking up to
Photo: Emily Bowler


You have decided to stay in, and you are feeling lush about it. God, a— how long has it been? A Friday night in, that very rarest of treats. It’s gone dark early and all your housemates are out, so you have the TV to yourself. You watch an old Graham Norton episode on iPlayer with an oven pizza and a whole family-sized thing of Galaxy Minstrels. The heating is on! You change your bedding so you sleep in something freshly laundered! You’re going to wake up in the morning early and without a headache! Maybe you can go to that art gallery you keep only remembering to go to at 6PM on a Sunday night when everyone from Instagram uploads their weekend photos from there, and you can take that camera you bought and keep telling yourself you’re going to buy film for and, like, take photos of the art.

Perhaps you can go for a long walk while holding a large white takeaway coffee cup, and people looking at you can think that you are interesting. 'How alone and fragile they seem,' people will think, of you, 'but also curiously strong. I like their black beanie and the way their cheekbones look sharp and powerful in the blurry light of an autumn afternoon.'

Only, just when you’re washing your face and turning in for an early one, of your housemates comes home smelling of beer and wine and whiskey and lipstick and cold from the outside, and they have three giggling people behind them with blue bags of beer and they are shouting – “OH COME JOIN US! COME JOIN US!” and maybe for like half of one beer you sit there in your pyjama bottoms, perched quite awkwardly on the edge of your sofa while they use your Spotify account to try to find Toxic by Britney (“No beer for me, thanks,” you say, quietly, “I just brushed my teeth”) and you slip away to bed at about 1AM with a just keep it down a bit, yeah? and close the front door to the living room behind you, but you can hear the piercing shrieks of joy through it anyway, can’t you, and you try to ignore it and resolutely close your eyes and power through, convinced that if you force your body and head into the shape of sleep then the mind will follow, but then that door you closed boomf_s open with an exhalation of noise while someone pisses with the door open while shouting back to the room after it – you can smell cigarette smoke wafting into the hallway even though you’re not supposed to smoke in the house, you can hear the sound of Instagram meme videos being played off phones with the volume turned all the way up at the same time as the TV blaring, loud, and you know, just _know, they are using one of your vinyls to rack up on – and it’s 3AM, maybe, 4, until you flit into something sleeplike, and even then you are bumped awake again at 8AM while someone clumsily uses the door to your room to steady themselves as they cram their boots back on and get downstairs into their Uber, huskily whisper-shouting “ BYE!” back out at your housemate, battered, and you are awake now, the weekend is ruined but you are awake, and there’s someone asleep on your sofa so you can’t use the front room, and there are Kronenbourg cans in the kitchen filled with ash which you dutifully and quietly clear up, and no you don’t go to the museum or the art gallery, you don’t go to them at all, you don’t really do anything all weekend except chain-watch Gossip Girl and eat Tangfastics with your housemate, who is only capable of making a long low groaning sound or doing something so heinous in the bathroom you have to call an emergency plumber out, and your landlord refuses to cover the excess so you spend the next four months of your tenancy fighting the charge—