Our hostel roommate was attempting to unlock the door. I glanced at my phone with one eye open.
Click. Click. Push. Click.
Sighing, I rolled over Cain and shuffled my feet towards the door to let the guy in. I was donning a pajama camisole and felt like I was a 1950’s wife.
"So what you wanna do is pull the door towards you and go left with your key," I somehow managed to give the guy, Michael, a tutorial on opening the door while half-asleep. He stared at me, looking as if he was not absorbing any of my wisdom.
I dragged my feet back to bed and quickly fell asleep.
Michael was sawing logs like he was Paul Bunyan. My Dad snores loudly, so it was not anything I hadn’t heard before. Michael was two beds away, so it was loud, but not unbearable. Closing my eyes I attempted to fall back asleep.
Then it happened: from the depth of Hades and the bowels of the Devil himself, a rolling, growling, bellowing being traveled up through Michael’s trachea into his throat and finally making its way to his mouth, forcing his lips open and escaping…
My eyelids flew open and my arm hair raised: a giant, barking noise had erupted from our roommates mouth after a snore. Was I imagining things? Was this a terrifying nightmare concerning the trials and tribulations of the afterlife? In HELL?
I looked over at Michael’s form in the darkness; slowly moving up and down from his breathing and slight snoring. I stared at him for a few minutes to ensure there wasn’t any levitating happening or severe storms forming around his body.
Finally, after staring for who knows how long, I let my eyes wander back to their lids and attempted to fall asleep again.
Cain was staring at me angrily through the darkness. I only nodded at him acknowledging the frustration he was experiencing in trying to sleep when the underworld was escaping Michael’s lungs.
It was now a pattern: Michael would have a generally normal, vocal snore and then the twilight zone would begin with an echoing snarl/bark/cough.
The ironic thing about all of these disturbing sounds (from another world possibly), is Michael LOOKED relatively Savior-like. With long, disheveled light-brown hair, a merciful smile, and light eyes he was a true-blue Westernized version of Jesus. Who knew Jesus suffered from such strong sleep apnea he sounded like a fallen angel.
We somehow pulled the blankets over our heads and found a way to block out the barking. Heavy bags under our eyes, we pulled ourselves together around 9AM and ran as fast as possible away from the destroyer of all joy and sleep.
Cain and I had a great routine down: we would leave the hostel by 10AM at the latest, and be occupied all day, and usually in Manhattan or Brooklyn until around 10 or 11PM every night before we got back to the hostel. Michael would still be sleeping when we left and didn’t seem to leave the hostel until 5PM, and would get back around 4-5AM. With our schedules only coinciding during sleep, it was unfortunate our only experience with our roommate was one of uncontrollable snarling through the night. And every night, I dreaded the snoring more, but became more accustomed to the noise.
There was one night towards the end of the week where I was actually afraid for Michael’s life. I was half asleep, half awake from a few little barks when Michael started choking and coughing almost uncontrollably. I sat upright immediately, ready to get out of bed to roll him over and wake him up. As I started panicking and formulating a quick plan of action, Michael rolled onto his side and went back to snoring.
My mouth open in absolute disbelief, wondering how choking, that sounded as if he was choking on a whole steak, did not, even in the slightest, WAKE HIM.
A true enigma, I can only hope there will always be someone in the room to rescue Michael from himself. One can only BARKRUFFSNARLCOUGHCHOKE healthily for so long.