At the other end of a phone call made between midnight and 3 a.m. is sure to be a lovelorn drunk or someone with bad news or trouble to share. By 3:37 a.m., when my phone rang, I should have known it wasn’t a drunk.
It rang four times, but I didn’t hear a message. I struggled to wake up, swinging my legs off the end of the bed and my feet onto the wet carpet. Wet carpet? My sleepy mind struggled with how I could have had an accident on the carpet.
Suddenly I snapped awake. Wet carpet. Phone call. I opened the closet and found wet walls, wet boxes, wet carpet, and water dripping down along the light bulb. Not again . . .
Yes. Again. At 4 a.m., I was pulling out the ton of sodden stuff I’d put back back into the closet last month when it had dried and the wall had been repaired after the last incident. The water leaking was hot, so the entire bedroom was like a sauna.
This time, I also removed everything from the floor of the linen closet, which I learned too late had gotten soaked last time. When I got to the back, I discovered that the plaster and wood had developed a healthy mold. Whoops . . .
A knock at the door proved to be that of two young Asian men who live downstairs. They had called the front desk when the water set off their smoke detector.
At no point in my childhood, youth, or adulthood would I have imagined myself standing in an apartment hallway at 4 a.m. in a nightshirt talking to college students in pajamas. Surreal.
I didn’t go to work. I tried to sleep but couldn’t relax. I would have read the last few pages of Wives and Daughters, but the last third of the book was sopping and is still wet. I went to Bonjour for breakfast and later took myself outside to write when, as if on cue, it promptly started to rain. So I took care of the laundry, washing towels that had gotten wet as well as bed linens.
My head aches slightly, I’m exhausted but not sleepy, and I can’t focus on anything or get comfortable mentally or physically.
I’m the first to be bored with and worry about the rut I am in, but now I want nothing more than a return to normalcy. I feel strange and discombobulated again, and this time I don’ t have a little trip to look forward to. I wonder what I will do with my Friday off now — more than I did today, I hope, and less cleaning up and worrying.