Put the light on

I used to live in a hostel, in London. I lived there for a year and a half, sharing a room with five boys. Double bunks, we had, in that small room. I had the top bunk by the window. I loved it.

Below me was a young Australian man, “A”.

“A” worked as a waiter in a fancy hotel. It was so fancy. So fancy, that they gave out new bottles of ketchup every time they reset the table. I don’t know what happened to the old bottles of ketchup, I only know that every new customer got a new bottle of ketchup.

“A” worked the early shift. None of us were late sleepers: the room was empty by 7am. But “A” got up even earlier, because he worked breakfast. His alarm would go off at 5 and bless him he always got up sprightly. Never hit the snooze. Never let it linger for too long. You learn to live well in a room of six people or you don’t live well at all.

He would get up at 5am and quickly shower and dress and brush his teeth. Sometimes I heard him, but not so much. He was very quiet. A good roommate. We were all good. We all made our beds, and didn’t take up too much room, and didn’t leave our toothbrushes by the sink. When you live like that, there are small things that matter.

Once “A” confided to me – there was nothing that made him so happy as when he woke up at 5am and we were all out. We were still out partying or at girlfriend’s houses or away for the weekend. It made him so happy to wake up at 5am to an empty room and to be able to put the light on.


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