The man slowly stood up from the wrinkled bed. It was already past noon and he had just opened his eyes fully for the first time. He had halfway opened them a few times as the morning progressed, but each time the light would hit his pupils like acid sliding across sandy paper, and he decided it was still too early. That kept on happening until the morning was gone. Now he was finally getting up and the light still hurt his eyes as it fell through the window in a mass of yellow transparent harshness and the wooden floor felt cold on his naked feet but he was hot and sweaty all over because it was noon and it should have been morning and then it would have been cool, but the morning was gone by now, and nothing he could do would bring it back. He walked into the bathroom and the white tiles of the floor were even colder than the wooden floor in his room. He shook all over for a moment and then he let out a loud burp and smiled at himself in the mirror. He reached down and felt his hard penis, which was so hard it that it rubbed up against his lower belly and that gave him a slight taste of pleasure. It made him think of the Vietnamese girl he had seen a few days before in the park, the one with the long black hair and brown, tanned skin, the one who danced for a moment on the bright green grass while he played the drums. He knew that she wasn’t just dancing for him right then, or for anybody for that matter, but it felt as if she was. Just the thought of her slender body moving to the deep sound of the drums made him even harder. He walked over to the toilet and realized that he couldn’t pee as long as he was this hard. So he masturbated quickly, quick rapid wrist movements and closed eyes, and, as he climaxed, he exhaled loudly, he opened his eyes wide, and he looked up at the dirty yellow ceiling of the bathroom. He just barely heard the small splash of sperm as it fell inside the water of the toilet bowl. He breathed slowly for a moment and then he peed, looking down to see his penis shriveling back down to its normal size. He exhaled once again, finished peeing, flushed the toilet and walked over to the sink. Again he smiled at his own image as he washed his face quickly and then he walked back out into his room. That was as good as having a morning. Now he was ready for the day.
He surveyed the expanse of his kingdom and he found it to be very small, specially now with all that light streaming through the window. He thought that soon he should get a curtain. If it was dark enough maybe he could sleep even longer. Now it just looked like a little room, about four hundred square feet, with a single door, a little closet, a bathroom and a window, a window that he wished wasn’t so bright. He sat on the bed and looked up at the little frame that held his three medals. In a flash, he was back where there was rain and tall green trees and pain and arms that would come off of their sockets and wide open eyes and friends that asked for help when you didn’t have any help to give them and it was all too much to think about right now, and that had been true all along but it became true once again with every day, specially in the daylight.
Now the morning was gone and he leaned over towards the bedside table and took out a few marijuana joints that he had thoughtfully rolled up a few days before. He lit one up and sucked in the smelly smoke, and then, once again, the dark trees and the screams of pain and the friend asking for help, it all faded away as it usually did. He walked over to the window and the light wasn’t so bright anymore, in fact it was becoming very beautiful. He looked outside and he could see the green lawns of the park from his window and he remembered that that was why he picked this little room over all the others. He got dressed quickly, still taking quick tokes from the joint, and he began to smile. It was always good when he began to smile, that meant the day had truly begun and the light that was so harsh just a moment ago was about to hit him like a shower of little kisses as he walked out the door.
He arrived at the heart of the long lawn, not even a half hour after taking the first hit. The glimmering colors were already multiplying. What had been golden and warm and simply delicious, now became a rainbow of ecstasy, in the shape of a girl in tight blue pants and a light top, swirling and dancing in front of him, and smiling, smiling so beautifully that right then he could see the whole love of the world in her eyes. He looked around himself and there was an old man looking up at the sky, with his eyes wide open in a gesture of pure wonder and amazement, and there was the love of the world once again. He walked towards the circle, where the loud sound of the drumming was coming from. He stepped right into the center and everyone knew him and everyone smiled and tacitly welcomed him even as the drumming continued and he placed his own conga drum in between two others who shifted aside to make room for him. He began to beat the drum with abandon right away, falling smoothly into the driving pulse that the others had established. There was an old Latino man swinging the maracas and there was an old black man banging on a djembe and there was an old hippie banging on the bongos and here he was drumming with them, whoever they were. For as much as they were strangers, they were the circle, and the circle changed every day, but the circle always stayed the same. He was now at the center and he was no longer in pain. The help that he couldn’t give so long ago would now be openly forthcoming, and the drums were loud all around him, and some girls were dancing, and some men were juggling, and a few couples were kissing and rolling around up on the hill behind him and the pain had disappeared as easily as a puff of smoke disappears on a breezy sunlit day.