Written by Lisel Christiansen.
Tap, tap, tap.
The sound isn’t one that normally bothers me, in fact, it’s a calming satisfaction for one such as myself, one I listen to when I write. The rhythmic clicking as words flow onto a coloured document before me. But, as with everything, there is a time and a place. Now is most certainly not that time.
It’s eleven o’clock, and I, like most, am trying to get some sleep.
Tap, tap, tap.
The basic noise level doesn’t change. Keys click repeatedly as the individual I reluctantly call my housemate sits gaming in the next room, blissfully unaware of my suffering.
And then he talks.
‘Oh yeah? Really?’
This noise is nowhere near the quiet, respectable sound for the time of night that it is, rather it’s loud and boisterous. I realise the mistake I have made once again by not sleeping at my parents’ house tonight.
‘Nah, nah, nah. We’ll be right mate.’
He might be, but I am not. I lie in bed staring up into the darkness just below my ceiling. Every sound out of his mouth eats at my patience, causing irritation to swirl up from where I’ve shoved it away for the rest of the day.
One would think, with the amount of times I’ve courteously asked him to keep it down, that he would understand by now what I would like when going to bed.
Every whirr of the computer fan, each squeak of plastic on plastic from the chair as his bodyweight shifts, every single word he speaks, each noise he utters, I can hear through our small, single shared section of wall.
And tonight, it drives me insane …
I finally get up, throwing open the door of my small room and crossing the two meters to his door and doing the same.
He looks up, somewhat surprised, somewhat expectant, and I stand there, fuming, and let it out.
‘Jacob.’ There’s a pause between the ending of his part of conversation, and I hope my face looks as unimpressed as I want it to. ‘I have to work in the morning. You need to shut the fuck up.’
He looks at me, a little confused, but gives an unsure nod.
‘Sorry, I thought I was keeping it down,’ he says in the same volume. It does not inspire hope.
I leave, adrenalin making my heart race far too fast for my liking as I lie back down.
The talking stops. And it’s nice, quiet, just what I want. Then the keys start.
Tap, tap, tap.
Ten seconds in, and I already miss the talking drowning out the constant frantic sound of buttons mashing to achieve some inane, ultimate goal.
I let out a frustrated sigh and roll over, back facing the wall as I pull up the doona and curl up into a ball. I throw pillows over my head to the point where breathing is a bit of a struggle as I contemplate exactly how badly I want to cut the power.
But I am human, and humans don’t like conflict. Instead I plan out the rest of my week, maximising the number of nights spent at my parents’. In time it will become a habit, more time spent with my family than in the house I rent, until I just give up and move out.
For now though, I lie yet again, trying to sleep as the tap, tap, tapping haunts my dreams.
Lisel Christiansen’s work appears in the Contact edition of WORDLY.