The youth wiped the sweat off his brow and grumbled to himself about the heat. He pulled off his pants and fanned his lean, well-muscled legs with one of the thin books that were scattered over the glass table. The papers riffled about aimlessly. It wasn’t getting any cooler but he didn’t care.
It was too fucking hot.
He took the pen out of his mouth and tried to write a few lines, a sentence, a single word even, anything that would resemble even a semblance of effort on his part. He scratched his sweaty black hair and moaned.
“Ah. Fuck it.”
He tossed the pen to his side onto the bed and pulled off his thin white cotton shirt and all his other items of clothing until he was left in nothing but his small tight briefs. He contemplated removing those too, grabbing his crotch briefly, but the thought disturbed him slightly.
Maybe someone was watching.
The blanket he used every other night was too thick for this sticky evening so he lumped it into a ball and threw it into the corner of his room. It hit the dull grey walls with an unsatisfying thud.
He lay on his cold bed hoping to go to sleep, only to get up a few minutes later, and laying back down again, again, and again. The thin sheets were warming up too quickly and his sweat was beginning to make everything uncomfortably sticky.
He stood up and jumped around and started shouting nonsensical things to the little yellow duck toy on his glass desk, softly at first, and then louder and louder until he couldn’t hear himself anymore and he began to wonder whether he was actually making any noise.
He had to go to the toilet and relieve his bowels but he thought it was not worth the effort. Besides, where would he even shit in this small chamber? He tried to recall where he usually did, but he couldn’t seem to remember.
The heat began to reach oppressing levels. He fanned himself helplessly with his open palm for a few seconds, and then closed his fingers together, in the vain hope of catching more air.
He gave up a few seconds later.
He could think of nothing else to do, nowhere else to go, and so he finally gave in to his baser desires and took off his underpants. So there he was, completely naked, in this sad and strange excuse for a living space. He felt extremely vulnerable, and a little vulgar, but also quite aroused.
Someone was definitely watching.
His clothes were in a heap on the floor. He knew they must smell foul. His clothes hadn’t been washed in what felt like months, so he threw them into the wire bin. For some reason, he didn’t think he needed them anymore.
He felt a tremendous urge to empty his bowels, and so instead he emptied his room of everything he didn’t need, trying to organise and compartmentalise everything, as he so often did in better times. There was nothing much besides a table, an uncomfortable bed and a wire bin, several books, a pen or two, and of course, the little duck toy. Regardless, organising everything was strangely comforting.
As he calmed down a little, he neatly folded his blanket into a pile and placed his pillow on top of it. He pulled the thin bedsheet off the hard bed and folded that too, just as neatly, and placed that on top of the pillow. He changed his mind and slid it in between the pillow and the blanket pile.
It worked better that way.
Then he pushed the table into the corner, placed the fabric-pile under it and slid the wire rubbish bin into the remaining space under the table, rearranging everything so it appeared balanced. He threw all the small items into the bin, neatly, except of course the rubber duck. He held that in his armpit. It threatened to slide out and escape (he was quite sweaty) but he clenched tightly.
He then turned the bed on its narrower edge and leaned it against adjacent the table, as close together as he could put everything. He picked up his clothes and put them all on again. Then he took them all off. He used his underpants to wipe the sweat off his whole body and then threw everything into the bin, not caring so much about neatness anymore. He really didn’t like those clothes.
There was now a decently sized space on one side of the room, about half the space of the room, had it been vacant. The emptiness pleased him, despite the depressingly grey walls and lack of any windows. He had stopped caring about the lack of natural light quite a long time ago. He didn’t really know where that annoyingly dull grey light came from; it just was.
He walked around the space for a while, enjoying its strange emptiness, then planted his bare buttocks on the cold floor. He quite enjoyed the coolness and so he lay flat, first on his belly and then decided on his back. He closed his eyes.
This was acceptable.