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I awoke in the night, at about three am, and after fruitlessly insisting to myself that I was asleep, I finally admitted that I was, in fact, annoying alert. I turned and lay on my back, my face suddenly bathed in cold air and my gaze pouring over the ceiling’s landscape of blotches and discoloured patches, as if studying maps of unexplored terrain. I was mildly surprised to hear the low sound of a television coming from my wife’s bedroom. She was probably watching Friends – which, I am told, she has followed for the best part of a decade. Inevitably, as it seemingly does in a state of nature, my mind returned to Marcin. My old friend is somewhere in this city, I am certain, although I do not know where he now lives and I have no means of contacting him. I am dimly and almost satirically aware of something in my state of mind which is pathetic and conservative – as if days which have long passed can wait for one, like a dog and slippers, and that I can go forward or back to that summer, dropping in unannounced to Marcin’s flat, dumping my messenger bag on the kitchen floor, for him to hand me a joint and say, “it’s all good, man,” and for all the years and days, all the grind-grind-grind and blunt-blunt-blunt, to rise off me like steam.

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