Tanning

It was sunny outside. I don’t mean like early April sunny. Nah, that harsh mid July sunny that gets everyone talking about it and huffing for air whenever they step outside. Proper sunny. And on a weekend as well, so everyone was out in beer gardens or at the park enjoying the heat. Everyone except Carl, that is. He was just inside dossing about. Far too warm for him to go out, fuck that. Besides, Carl didn’t have any pals to go to the beer garden with or kick about in the park. Not anymore. So there he was, in front of the telly in a sticky, sweaty shirt and his boxers. Watching some daytime shite while the rest of the world was soaking in the sun and having a laugh. It’s not like he didn’t want to go out, it just felt a bit weird to go out for no reason. He didn’t need to go shopping, he wasn’t working and nobody had really invited him out. He could go for a walk but that just felt a bit weird to him since he used to do that with his ex and now… Well, he didn’t. Don’t go there. Every window in the house was open and Carl was having to peel himself off the leather on the sofa every two minutes. Like I say, it was proper warm. It got him thinking about an article he read that mentioned the effect sunlight has on you. He was thinking a lot lately and this thought stuck with him. The article said that exposure to sunlight can actually make you happier. Imagine that. Something to do with the vitamin D apparently and god knows he could do with a better mood at the moment. It was all pointless anyway. He didn’t have any cause to go outside and regardless, it was too fucking warm. What was he gonna do, just lie in the garden? Nah, that seemed too weird. Did people do that? He wasn’t sure for a moment, but then he supposed it was only like sunbathing and people are always doing that at the beach or on holiday. Plus, it’s his private garden, who gives a fuck what he does in it?

So he switched the telly off and chucked off his sticky, sweaty top so he was just wearing his boxers. Like I say, it was too warm for proper clothes and he figured the more skin on show, the more sun he would soak in. Once he got out there, he didn’t mind it so much. His fences were fairly high so nobody could look over and perv on him. Although, his neighbours could see in from their bedroom window but fuck them. They’d recently been blasting music at stupid hours and chucking shit over the fence onto Carl’s side. He’d had it out with them a few times about it but it went nowhere, as per. There wasn’t any music playing now though, just the distant lazy hum of a hedge trimmer or a lawn mower. Proper summery sound, that. Carl supposed it wasn’t too bad out there and chucked a towel on the grass to lie on. To be honest, he was a bit unsure how people went about doing this sort of thing. Was he supposed to have a drink with him? Was he supposed to be wearing shades? How often should he turn over? He was overthinking it and tried to chill out. He was only there for the sun, anyway. This towel wasn’t very comfy, though. Carl hadn’t mowed his lawn for a while so the ground was uneven and bumpy to lie on. Still, he wouldn’t have to be there long, since he had so much skin out to absorb the sun. He closed his eyes and shuffled a little dent into the patch of grass. Finally, he found himself a bit more comfy and calm when a house alarm started to sound, about three doors down. One of those shrill sirens that are supposed to go off when someone’s breaking in but they usually go off for no reason at all. He kept his eyes closed. They’d turn it off soon. But after about five minutes of incessant ringing, he figured they weren’t in to switch it off. It was still going, as shrill as ever.

Worp-worp-worp-worp-worp!

Then between everyone sound he heard that small chirp at the start of the sound loop.

Worp-tck-worp-tck-worp-tck-worp.

Over and over. They were probably out in the sun like everybody else. He’d just have to block the noise out. Wouldn’t be difficult since he wasn’t going to stay there long. He kept his eyes tight shut and started to think about the things he needed to get done, like repainting the kitchen and have the carpet cleaned. The kind of thinking that he would put off until he got a moment just for thinking. A moment like this one. Then he started thinking about nights out with his old pals. This one time, Rob managed to balance a can on his forehead for an hour. Nobody asked him to, he just did it whilst everyone else was going about drinking, he was just balancing on a seat with a can on his head. Carl didn’t know how he got on to this thought. Maybe he thought about how nights out would usually start in the kitchen that needed repainting or maybe it was that one of the stains on the carpet was from when Rob dropped the can. He started to think about how your mind can jump from one thing to another so tangentially and how you can forget about everything you’ve been thinking about if you try to retrace how you got onto it. Know how I mean? Then he remembered something his ex said about him having no attention span and how she always hated that. This got him thinking about her. Thinking about how he didn’t reckon he could ever find a girl who made him feel that way again. Feeling like he was finally complete and could spend the rest of his life in the company and the arms of a woman, and the world was just right and equal. He thought about that for a long time. He’d already gone over it for a few months before but here he did it all over again. Thought about her smile and her eyes. The way that her teeth would show when she laughed and the way that she would hold his face when they kissed. That’s when he started to remember shagging her. Just for a little bit though. It felt rude to think about that so he tried to change his thoughts. It’s difficult to make yourself stop thinking about something. Makes you want to think about it all the more but this was just too strange. He forced himself to go back to painting the kitchen. The fading on that one wall and the bits of damp in the corners. Then he got on to nights out. Rob’s balancing trick and Alex’s knack for beer pong. What mad men. Made him miss them since they all stopped knocking about together. He couldn’t even remember what split them all up, just something about getting older separates people he supposed. Yeah, he missed them. Then he missed his ex again. The clothes she used to wear, the way that her body looked. Shagging her. Whoops! Back to the kitchen, then the lads, then the ex. Kitchen. Lads. Ex. It went on like this for a while. Whirlwinding his thoughts up and spinning them around his head until eventually they turned into one loud thought that he couldn’t even understand anymore. Just a massive noise of thinking. Fuck.

Out of the blue it all stopped. All the enormous overbearing thoughts ceased. And not just that. All thoughts in his head ended right where they began, without trailing into more and more. He wondered if he was still awake, but he must have been, because it was as though he could hear himself asking if he was asleep. Instead, his thoughts just ended where they began instead of dot-to-dotting around his brain. It was nice, far less hectic. Sometimes having too many thoughts can be stressful but at this very moment it was as though he’d thought all his thoughts up. Seriously, he wasn’t thinking anything. Nothing. He wasn’t even thinking about how he wasn’t thinking. He tried to come up with some topic to go over but it was no use. If he could have, he probably would have thought he was brain dead. Hit by a falling stone and turned to a vegetable or something. He wasn’t though. Right there at that moment, he didn’t miss his pals. Didn’t care about the kitchen or the carpets. None of it mattered anymore. Just bliss. At that point, he was okay with life and he knew it. He was so okay that he could probably die. Not like how he’d heard people say before when they’re really comfortable or they’ve just eaten something really tasty.

“Ooh, I could die happy now.” Not like that. He really could have died. Sure, he had a lot ahead of him, a fair few years left to be done but what was the point when right there and then he was complete and perfect? After all, who knew when he’d next feel like this? If ever. He could achieve a lot more with the rest of his life but he may as well die peacefully and right there he was at peace. That’s what it was. Peace.

Then someone turned off that fucking house alarm. Thank Christ. About time. Not like those things ever even catch burglars. It’s selfish more than anything to force your neighbours to listen to that racket, even if your house was being robbed.

Pathetic