The functional group -OH

-OH is a functional group, very useful in Chemistry.I study said subject as part of my course. It is the chemical group that makes alcohol for what it is: Alcohol. Alcohol, last week, was my company in my dark apartment. I sat in my new apartment, ruminating over the silence. It was raining outside and I sat feeling down and washed out. It had been a hard week.

I shifted into the Apartment in the morning, feeling the usual zest of Saturday mornings. It was sunny then, and I felt that there was nothing that could go wrong. I was happy, it was a fresh start, and what is life except for a number of fresh starts strung together into a fragmented memory? I was happy, as I sat on the couch with a glass of water, happy at my morning’s labour of shifting suitcases and bags.

I cooked myself a decent meal of chicken stew and baked some bread. I ate everything in silence and slept.

It began in the evening.

I started to feel the blanketing silence descend on me. A mist and rain began to fall gently outside. The rain didn’t patter, it fell softly, rarely rising above a buzz. The apartment was getting colder by the minute so I turned on the heater and yet, even the warmth couldn’t get rid of a strange coldness I felt. I felt my shoulders get heavier. I remembered the cadavers at the dissection hall from a day ago. The smell of the formalin, sickly sweet and associated with embalming, returned to my nostrils. I could have been standing in the dissection hall, with a dissection knife (blade), bent over the embalming corpse of someone who must have been living and breathing like myself. In a few minutes I was asleep.

I awoke to the sound of heavy knocking on my door. Someone was shouting my surname from outside.

“Mr Schuberg! Mr Schuberg, open up please. Can you hear me?”, I heard someone yell. I was still sitting on my sofa. My nose, I found to my surprise, was bleeding, I was sweating and my hands were trembling. I rose from the sofa to find that I was stiff in the neck. I had apparently fallen asleep on the sofa, sitting up, and cricked my neck to boot. I staggered to the door, and opened to see a group of people standing outside my door. Two of them were dressed in black, with pistols drawn.

They were shocked to see me. I staggered or shook a little and immediately five pairs of hands stretched out towards me to help me. As my eyes shifted into focus, I recognized some of the people in the group. The landlord and his daughter were there, my neighbour and two men who were clearly security guards. The landlord, who doesn’t speak English turned to his 17 year old daughter (who is a beauty, I will admit) and asked her something. She translated:

“Father is asking if you were okay. We heard you yell. Are you alright ?”

For a moment I couldn’t answer, no words formed themselves in my mouth. My throat was hoarse. So I was yelling, was I?

“I’m fine,”I said, “Probably a nightmare”.

The landlord’s daughter turned to the crowd. It was she who was hollering at the door. The people who stood there weren’t convinced. They turned and pointed to my nose, which had inexplicably, started to bleed again. I dabbed at my nose, hoping to staunch the bleeding. The landlord spoke again, and his daughter turned to me , “What did you see in your dream, Mr Schuberg? Was it something personal? Was it death?”

It was all of those things, but I couldn’t speak again because I had collapsed in the doorway.




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