• Michael Noctor

the number for today is

If you’re being attended by a nurse, and that nurse is crying, it can mean one of two things. She’s been dumped or you’re in big fucking trouble. I think of it as my oh shit, this is it moment and the feeling I experienced has stayed with me from that moment to this. I live with it. I live and breathe with it. I want to live and breathe with it for another thirty years, but I’m extremely grateful for the four hundred and eleven days I’ve done so far. I just did the calculation. It’s not like I’m counting, breathe one hundred, breathe two hundred … one million four hundred thousand and eighty-three Mississippi, kinda thing.

I left the heating on. Earlier in the evening I drove past the spot where I used to sleep in my car - unless it was taken. l always throw a glance whenever I drive by on the Old Bawn Road and it’s all too easy to remember bedding down in the car for the night. I was warm – enough – but tonight I get home to my apartment and it’s like a sauna and I be like – would ya look at me living in luxury and I should have died four hundred and eleven days ago, except I wasn’t thinking exactly that coz I hadn’t worked out the four hundred and eleven calculation then, but ya know what I mean.

There’s a young homeless man I see from time to time around Tallaght. He has a beard. I used to see him frequently in the library. It’s hard to define his walk, which is more like a stride, but if I had to pick a word it would be purposeful, no, it would be proud.

I gave a fiver to a homeless woman on the South Circular Road. She stands outside the Spar. She seemed a bit taken aback. I decided to give her a fiver every time I see her and immediately decided to take a detour from now on, so I don’t have to pass the Spar.

That’s a joke.

I decided a while back not to invest in a television. I have Netflix and just recently stopped myself from acquiring Amazon Prime – I just wanted to see The Gentleman – and as I have five years of box sets to catch up on I thought I’d start with The Crown and after five minutes I thought I’m not watching this. Maybe it was three minutes. I might get back to it.

Sometimes I wonder have I been, am I being, affected by the Coronavirus on a subconscious level. I was going to book a flight to Málaga tonight. I had seen a headline about the rolling out of the vaccine and thought maybe it will be okay to go to my beloved spiritual home in January. The only thing that stopped me was the mandatory Covid test that I’d have to take 72 hours before travelling. I don’t want to go through that unpleasantness.

I haven’t smoked for four hundred and eleven days. That’s a lot.

The number for today is … 411.