You wake and there is one dead bird.
You wake. Every day. Without fail. The mattress a thin briar of coils and your pillow never quit right for your neck. No alarm wakes you. There is no pressing need for your wakefulness. You wake, and sometimes you stay awake. Sometimes you even get right out of bed, shower, dress, prepare yourself for the day as though the day might contain anything to prepare yourself for. That is not the norm, for more often than not you wake and, finding nothing has miraculously changed in your environment, you force yourself back to sleep.
So much sleep and yet never enough. You could blame the weather - Glasgow is hardly known for its bright and sunny disposition - or you could blame the stress of finding yourself once again unemployed and, despite your excellent track record and qualifications, seemingly unemployable. You could blame the belligerence of a city soundscape on your too sensitive introvert ears. You could blame a change in medication, even though there has been no change except for branding, but maybe, possibly, who knows.
You could blame higher powers, even though you believe in no such thing. That incident and that incident and that incident and that incident; this long run of significantly bad and usually pointless bad luck. You whisper in quiet moments, barely heard over a washing machine that devours the power so fast you can watch the credit on the meter tick down, that you're not supposed to be here, that Glasgow doesn't want you.
You could even blame yourself.
You don't want to be that cliché story of a deluded young couple running off to the big city and that big city being cruel, hard and chewing them up to spit them out broken and grey, but perhaps you no longer require any chewing to be broken.
You go to sleep, eventually.
You wake, inevitably.
Every day. Without fail. Opportunities and chances to change the tuning of your heart strings. Get out of bed even if there is nothing requiring you to. You know you won't get them but apply for those jobs because you would love to be wrong, please, be wrong. Go exploring because you will find the charm in the city even if the city will not charm you. You wake and even though it cost you dear you fight your little war inside and out. Because this too will change.
You wake up and there is still one bird, chirping and relentless.