Languidly Angela

Those first glimmers of sunlight wormed their way through the Venetian blinds, gently pulling Angela from a deep sleep. Outside, the distant whirr of the bin lorry brought clattering crates of glass ever closer as songbirds welcomed a new day with a sweet jumble of melodies. With a feeling of great weight, Angela opened her eyes and saw the warm sunbeam stretching shadowy patterns across the room and onto the clock which read 7AM. Time to get up. Time to get dressed and get to work.

Angela just couldn’t be arsed.

That’s a thought she had a lot lately. “I can’t be arsed.” or “Why do I even bother?” Things like that, only this morning she really meant it. She knew she had to get to work, she couldn’t miss another day after last time, but she just couldn’t be arsed. Neil woke up next to her and started to stretch and yawn erratically and loudly before getting up and putting on his uniform.

“What’s wrong? Are you ill?” He asked with concern, waiting for Angela to respond.

Angela just couldn’t be arsed.

Instead, she stared lifelessly at him in the corner of her eye without moving her head at all. Neil figured she probably wasn’t entirely awake and needed a rest day before she would be back to a functional state.

“Just make sure you call in sick.” He said firmly, in an effort to penetrate her sub-consciousness with a loving kiss placed on her forehead. Angela heard it all.

Angela just couldn’t be arsed.

Neil left the room and after some hurried footsteps downstairs and a stern shut of the door, he was gone. Then the bin lorry faded away into the distance and the birds made flight to their respective day jobs, leaving Angela with silence. A silence that lasted a while as the shadows waltzed languidly across photos on the dressing table, soundtracked by the occasional buzzing of Angela’s phone. It was probably work looking for an excuse of absence or, most likely telling Angela not to come in again. Fired. She could have told them she was too ill. Food poisoning or a migraine, something they can’t argue with. She could answer the phone and keep her job in thirty seconds.

Angela just couldn’t be arsed.

The orange light became yellow and then dimmed into a staid shade of blue as the droning of lawnmowers became noticeably absent. Soon after, a car hummed close to the house, casting white light onto the ceiling before resuming darkness with a click. Neil drudged upstairs and opened the door in Angela’s periphery. His face quickly rinsed a lovingly concerned expression and unveiled one of fear. She hadn’t moved in the slightest and didn’t acknowledge his arrival at all. Upon closer inspection, her eyes were bloodshot, as if she hadn’t blinked once since he last saw her.

Angela just couldn’t be arsed.

An ambulance arrived about an hour later. As they stretchered Angela into the back, she caught a glimpse of the night sky, bleached clean of stars by the harsh street lights. Pretty. The paramedics suspected a stroke or acute paralysis of some form, so Angela was rushed into an emergency care unit with a round of intensive testing. CAT scans, ECGs, MRIs, X-Rays, bloods, they all came back negative. There was no physical impairment stopping Angela from moving.

Angela just couldn’t be arsed.

They kept her on a small ward with a few other patients. Patients who would cry out in the darkness. Guttural, agonised screams which prompted rubber shoes to tap and squeak along the sterile floors before finally resuming a stale quiet with an occasional cough, sniff or snore. All the while, Neil struggled to stay awake on an uncomfortable armchair in the corner of Angela’s eye. Watching and hoping for her return. Seeing her blink or even sleep would be enough.

Angela just couldn’t be arsed.

The darkness was staved by artificial light which flicked into action with a fluorescent hue, painting the walls an uncomfortable opal white. Doctors, physicians and psychiatrists made frequent visits to Angela’s bedside. Checking her charts while humming or tutting with confusion. Some of them spoke to her, asking why she was doing this, why she wanted to punish herself. It seemed like they thought she was doing this as a cry for help or an act of self-harm. It wasn’t like that.

Angela just couldn’t be arsed.

After a few more nights, a tube was inserted into Angela’s gullet in order to force feed her. It must have been around a week since Angela last ate. Despite her metabolism slowing greatly, without sustenance she would starve. As rhythmically as the beeping of the machinery beside her, food would slide into the pipe with a sludging squelch as she felt it reach the pit of her stomach. Still, this excruciating pain was building in her gut. A stabbing, unrelenting agony which throbbed and spread across her belly. After more visits from the faceless doctors whose voices seemed to melt into one dull sound, it was gathered that her stomach wasn’t digesting food.

Angela just couldn’t be arsed.

Periods of darkness and of synthetic light became innumerable as the incoherent voices and noises were muffled into a whisper by a deafening noiselessness. An ever-slowing beep and recurring “Please don’t go” or “Wake up” were all that seeped through until the machine stopped and Angela’s body ceased working entirely. But Angela didn’t die.

Angela just couldn’t be arsed.

She felt her corpse being carted into a lift, down and down into a dim room. Yet more silence as they invasively coated and treated her body before leaving her to dry and stiffen on a metal table. A skeletal body ravaged by malnutrition. She was dressed, placed in a tiny box and dropped six feet into the ground. Her corpse softened again, as her skin fell loose, slipping from her bones and blackening as the casket filled with a putrid stench of lifelessness. Her eyes caved in, leaving her blackened eyelids to sag into her skull. Skin became soil and soon, bones and cloth were all which remained. More silence. Then rumbles and the collapsing of dirt. Tonnes of dirt which shattered the wooden ceiling and crushed the skeleton to never been seen again. Angela was forgotten by the world for all eternity.

Because she just couldn’t be arsed.

So next time I asked you to clean the dishes and you “Can’t be arsed” how about you fucking grow up, Darren?