The alarm next to her head sounded unreasonably far away to Lily, like it was ringing from a house buried deep beneath the sea. The beep continued to echo annoyingly through her small bachelor apartment, gradually rousing her out of sleep. Her ears were ringing. This static combined uncomfortably with the buzzing of her alarm clock into a cacophony of chaos in her brain. Lily sat up gingerly and surveyed the disaster of her apartment through half closed eyes. Yellow stained cigarette butts stared back at her from an overflowing ashtray. Mismatched piles of silvery CDs glinted in the morning sun, scattering brilliant beams of light left and right. A futon lay in the middle of the floor, a blanket thrown haphazardly on top of it. Half filled bottles of water and juice-tinged glasses littered the entire expanse of her floor.
Her friends had cleared out sometime between midnight and dawn, as she’d drifted painfully in and out of sleep. She wasn’t sure when. Lily's head was pounding, beats remembered from the night before pulsing and crashing rhythmically against the inside of her skull. She forced herself out of bed, carefully placing one foot and then the other onto the cold floor. She stood up slowly, testing her balance like a toddler taking her first steps. She was so lightheaded!
After taking a few moments to regain her strength, Lily stumbled her way to the bathroom, and examined her reflection in the mirror. She had a terrible taste in her mouth, and could barely gather enough saliva to swallow. She stuck out her tongue. It was greenish-grey, the tastebuds larger than she expected. She was dehydrated. Completely. Her hair was standing at attention in greasy spikes all over her head, and her eyes had the tired look of someone who had been squinting in front of a computer for 24 hours straight. She leaned into the mirror, swept her bangs off her face and rubbed at the faint lines on her forehead. She hadn’t showered all weekend, and the faintly chemical smell of club, smoke and drugs emanated disturbingly off her skin. She'd been afraid of washing off her high. It had made sense the day before, but in the inhospitable reality of Monday morning, it made Lily feel a little unhinged.
8:30. Where had the last half hour gone? Sometimes Lily felt as though she spent her whole life trying to outrun the clock. She took a deep breath, hoping that the fresh oxygen would help her concentrate. Her fingers were trembling slightly, reacting to the lack of food in her system. A hot shower. That would help. It would wake her up, she thought groggily. She dragged herself into the shower, and slowly turned on the taps.