Short Fiction | The Lost Hour

The sun shakes her head as I blink, unravel my eyelids, yawn. Wednesday, I think. October, for sure. The midday breeze hits like nails upon a chalkboard and my window shudders in its bracket. I call my doctor — the receptionist recognises my voice — and book in for the afternoon. I pry apart my French braid and lob the spiral tie across the room, where it hits a pile of medical certificates, veers to the floor, stops still. I fall back asleep.


Tash: Morning!

Tash: You comin’ to class?


Tash: Liv?


Liv: shit sorry was asleep

I had a dream I was awake to see the sunrise. I walked barefoot to the edge of the earth, bought a smoothie, sat cross-legged on the dirt. The sun took a breath and spilled her yolk through the sky. Orange, yellow, pink. She glowed and she laughed and she whisked herself through the stratus clouds until it was lighter, brighter, ready. I awoke to the tic-tac of rain and the buzz of a desperate alarm.

You have (1) new voice messages.

Message received at four-twenty-four, pee-em.

“Hey Liv it’s me, just double checking we’re on for tonight, let me


Message deleted.

I’ve fantasised about insomnia, but I’m stuck with its younger, less successful cousin. I wave hi to her in the mirror while I brush my teeth, white spittle pooling out of my mouth, clinging for life around the edges of the drain. I run the water, cold, and splash my face. One. Two. Three times. I look up at the drops skating down my under eye bags and realise where my emotional baggage is held. I walk back to bed.


Tash: Babe we’re getting an uber in ten where are you


Tash: Seriously?


Tash: Ffs

I read somewhere that on average, people are sleeping an hour less than they used to. Sociology graduates speculate on the causes: longer working days, disrupted family structures, PornHub. They argue that our generation is stressed about the economic crisis. Stressed about politics. Stressed about stress. They argue that our sleep-deprived generation will live faster and die younger. I yawn and roll over, cushioned by all the stolen hours. It is easier to sleep as a thief.

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