I brushed my teeth, and made my way up the stairs into my bedroom. Throwing back the covers, and taking off my jeans and t-shirt I crawled into bed. After an hour of scrolling through what seemed to be an endless stream of social media, the light from my phone became too much to bear and I closed my eyes and went to sleep.
I was awoken, to the sound of a constant and rhythmic tapping. I turned my head to the small bedside table on the right hand side of my bed. “02:06” flashed across the face of my electronic clock. I assumed it must have been my neighbours, one con of living in a townhouse is that if the person living next to you even breathes you can bet that you will hear the sound of their lungs as they expand and contract. I waited a few moments, hoping that whatever they were doing would stop. When the sound did not cease, I gave my own tap on the wall, with three knocks of my knuckles to the wall that ran parallel to the left hand side of my bed. Immediately the tapping stopped. But, my short rest was once again interrupted at “04:18,” too late to go back to sleep but still too early to function properly I decided to lay in bed for a few minutes after pounding the wall again, only this time the sound continued. It was only as I got off my bed and stood on my own two feet that the sound disappeared. I stumbled across the room and approached my closet, but before I could slide open the closet door I had realized that last night I forget to bring up any clean laundry. I went to the basement and got a pair of trousers and a button up shirt. The only thought I had in the shower was that maybe I could try to sleep a few hours at my desk while I was at work.
Sadly, a hot shower could only temporarily mask my fatigue, and I went to work feeling worse than usual. A mediocre office job stuck in a cubical, but it put food on the table and there is no shame in that. I woke up when Ted’s hand grabbed my shoulder and told me “Hey Sleeping Beauty, it’s time for our break. You want to come with us to this new Vietnamese place around the corner?”
“Sure,” I replied, “let me just grab my jacket.”
We sat down at the bistro, the food was alright, nothing special, but Ted and the others really weren't interested in the food. The question on all their minds was why I looked like I had been in a bar fight with a forty year old Irish man. The lack of sleep left me with bags under my eyes almost the same colour as the red cabbage coleslaw I ordered.
I explained to them about the tapping sound, the way it sounded like the beat of a song. Always in the same rhythmic order: one tap, a short pause, and three taps in quick succession. “I could hardly sleep,” I told them.
“Do you still have that leaky sky-light window in your room?” asked Marika.
“Yeah,” I answered, “but how would that explain my pounding the wall being the solution to the problem the first time?” We sat silent for a moment, everyone thinking about the number of possibilities which could be causing the sound and the source of my unrest.
“It could be some kind of bird,” said Ted.
I was quick to reply, “I don’t own any birds.” Ted stared at me like I had just given a pair of gloves to a double arm amputee.
“I know you don’t have any pet birds, but it could be one outside of the window tapping on the glass. I heard sometimes birds, to attract mates, will try to make as much noise as possible. Maybe it figured that tapping the glass on your window was the way to make the most noise. If that was your best chance of getting laid, wouldn’t you do the same?”
I was enraged at the thought of it, that I had been kept awake because some avian prostitute took up a nest outside my window, and its inciting flamenco that it was performing was the reason for my lack of sleep. I was not about to be outwitted by a tiny creature who couldn’t get his rocks off. Our break ended, and the rest of the work day went by relatively quickly. The only thing that occupied my mind for the rest of the day was getting home, and ridding myself of this avian atrocity.
I drove speedily home and pulled into the shared drive way, and retrieved the key to my front door. I planned on wasting not a single second, but I was stopped when I found a piece of paper folded in half and taped to my front dear, it read:
Thank you for banging the wall not just once, but TWICE last night! I really enjoyed being woken up, as did my crying two year old daughter. If you have any problems feel free to come next door and maybe throw around some pots and pans.
Your neighbours Suzzie and Troy."
I felt a tad sorry for them knowing that this bird was the potential cause for my problems and not my neighbours, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. Besides, I never liked either Suzzie or Troy anyway. I threw open the front door and grabbed the dustpan from my kitchen. Striding up the steps in record time I entered my room with the weapons of war in hand, the window was my final obstacle and with a jiggle of the lock the window went up, throwing dust into the room and along with a rush of stagnant air. I coughed, but it seemed as if Ted was right! On the window ledge was a nest with what looked like a very disturbed bachelor bird.
I didn’t feel right smashing his home so I grabbed a pair of rubber gloves from the kitchen and returned to my window sill roommate. I found an old shoebox to place him in for time being, and when I picked him up a flash of blue sprung from beneath him, or what I now presumed to be a her. Underneath my feather friend were three small turquoise coloured eggs. I handled the nest with as much care as I could. I took the shoebox into my back yard and placed the nest on the ledge of the window sill which over looked my garden; far away from where I slept. She seemed to be happy in her new home, and then so was I. Satisfied with my small victory I decided to catch up on the rest I so dearly missed.
As soon as my head hit my pillow, my eyes closed and I found myself falling into a deep sleep. I dreamt I was in a Latin club, dancing with a beautiful Spanish woman. She whirled around the dance floor tapping her feet… tapping her feet…tapping the same fucking rhythm. She stomped her right foot down, and a short pause followed and then like clockwork stomped her right foot, left foot, right foot. I woke up and the sound had infiltrated my mind while I rested. I ran over to the window and threw it open to find that the bird had not returned. It wasn’t the bird, it wasn’t Suzie or Troy… was it in my head, could it be a mouse in the walls? I stood still in my room, wearing only my boxers, listening for that god forsaken noise. I crept across the room as the sound became louder and louder. It was my mirror.
The closet in my room had sliding doors both fitted with mirror fronts. The glass vibrated with every pulse. I placed my ear on the glass and it sounded like listening to the heart beat of caged animal, frantically pumping. I could feel my stomach drop. Although it was too late. When the door of my closet began to slide open, it was then, I realized that the tapping had not come from my mirror, but behind it, from behind the closet door.