Deep Sleep by Shanna

Deep Sleep by Shanna

The thing that Albert hated most about Jordan wasn’t the fact that
Jordan would leave his dirty clothes in the middle of the floor of
their dorm room. After all, it wasn’t like Albert had never seen a
pair of dirty boxers before.  It wasn’t that Jordan would blast his
music when Albert was trying to study. Albert enjoyed a good concert
every once in a while. It wasn’t even that Jordan would “borrow”
Albert’s bike to get to class when he was running late, which seemed
to happen a lot. Albert had 4 younger siblings so he was used to his
things being borrowed.

No, the thing that Albert hated most about Jordan was the wheezing and
whistling noise Jordan made when he was sleeping. Just about every
night Albert was woken up by the hissing and breathing sounds coming
from his roommate’s nose. Even though Albert wasn’t an only child, he
never had to share a room when he was growing up, so he had never
experienced the disoriented feeling of waking up from a sound sleep
because your roommate was snoring.

The first time it happened, Albert didn’t understand what was
occurring. One minute he was deep asleep, dreaming of Rachel from his
Communications class, her long blonde hair and bright red lips, the
way she seemed to always be winking at him, and how suddenly she had
begun doing a strip tease in the middle of class. She had just taken
off her shirt when Albert was rudely awakened and found himself
staring at his dark ceiling instead of Rachel’s honey skin.

What?, he thought, disoriented. Where did Rachel go and what was that
noise? He rolled over and checked his phone in case the alarm was
going off but he had another 4 hours until he was due to wake up. He
pushed himself up onto his elbows and looked out the window, in case
it was coming from outside, but all was still on campus and so dark he
could barely see the trees across the way. He slid out of bed and
crept to the door, silently opening it, and stuck his head out into
the bright hall but the hall was silent and empty and no one was
there.

He shut the door quietly and turned around, pensive. It was then that
Albert realized the noise was coming from his roommate’s bed. He edged
up close to Jordan and watched in the dark, fascinated, as Jordan’s
nose flared in time with the whistling.

Albert was stunned. On one hand, he didn’t realize the human body
could make such a noise. On the other hand, Albert was really tired
and just wanted to go back to sleep. He crawled back to his bed, got
under his covers, and closed his eyes. He willed himself to go back to
sleep and to Rachel, but he couldn’t get the whistling out of his
ears. He traced random patterns on the ceiling as he lay there,
occasionally nodding off when he got tired enough, only to be jolted
awake by the wheezing sounds from his roommate.

After an agitated night of semi-sleep, Albert woke bleary eyed the
next morning. He looked over at Jordan who was stretching as he got
out of bed, no signs of a restless night in his eyes.

Albert frowned and asked him,”Hey, did you hear that weird noise last night?”

Jordan looked at him. “No man,” he said, “I’m such a deep sleeper, a
bull dozer could come through here and I would sleep right through
it.”

“Oh, that’s great,” Albert said weakly. He suddenly had a horrible
feeling that he was never going to be able to sleep again.

“Yeah,” replied Jordan. “I must have gotten the good sleep gene.
Everyone in my family is always talking about how they can never get a
good night’s sleep. I can sleep through anything.” Jordan grabbed his
towel and made his way to the bathroom.

Albert slumped onto his bed. What was he going to do, he thought. If
he had to go through the next 10 months with that noise, every night,
Albert knew there was a slim chance that he would make it. He sighed,
grabbed his towel, and followed Jordan to the bathroom. He needed to
think up a strategy and he needed to think of it quick.

Albert soon came up with many ways of dealing with Jordan’s problem.
At first, he tried earplugs and headphones to block out the noise, but
all that did was prevent him from hearing his alarm and made Albert
late for many of his classes.

After that, he started keeping a pile of projectile objects next to
his bed, things like shoes, bath products, anything he could use to
throw at Jordan. Albert had learned that if Jordan were pelted with
something, something that would cause him to flinch or move, that
Jordan would stop snoring, at least for a little while. Unfortunately,
Albert was only able to use this method for a short while; Jordan had
gotten progressively agitated when he would wake up with mysterious
bruises all along his arms and chest.

Albert made sure that Jordan drank a lot of fluids, in the hopes that
if Jordan were well hydrated, this might help him stop snoring. But
all this caused Jordan to do was to get up and go to the bathroom
multiple times a night, causing Albert to wake up every time Jordan
opened and closed the door. Albert then tried getting Jordan extremely
drunk, in the hopes that Jordan would just pass out for the night.
That was a terrible night, Albert thought. Jordan’s snoring had been
the worse ever and Albert swore to never let him drink again.

Albert hounded the message boards online, looking for cures for
snoring. He joined support groups and subscribed to newsletters. He
started reading medical and reference books, devouring them in the
hopes that if he learned enough about why Jordan snored, that this
could help him figure out how to get Jordan to stop snoring.

As the year went on though, Albert started to notice something. He
realized that he was sleeping through the night more and that Jordan’s
whistling was waking him up less often. Albert began to eat more and
started to put on weight that he had lost. He began to think more
clearly, since he was sleeping more, and his grades went up. Albert
realized that he was slowly becoming immune to the wheezing and in
fact, when he went home for spring break, he couldn’t sleep because
his room, nestled in the back of his parent’s house, was too quiet. He
missed the hissing. He missed the whistling that seemed to creep
through the dorm room in the middle of the night.

Albert smiled at Jordan when he returned to campus after break. He
still hated Jordan’s snoring, but he hated it a little less now. Plus,
with all the medical research he had done, Albert was seriously
considering changing his major to pre-med.

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About bbcstudiowrites

This blog is me archiving the BBC Studio Writers Workshop.

Posted on November 5, 2013, in Fiction, Seattle, Short Stories. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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