It was the end of the world as we knew it. Except it didn’t end, and true to my precautionary fashion – and later celebratory spirit once past the threshold into the new Mayan calendar – I brought along a bottle of whisky to my Bangkok hostel and gulped a fair bit of it amidst reunion with friends.
Which explains why I was rather lightheaded when I got back to my room.
Moments later, the doorknob turned with brute force behind it – or the way I perceived it when lifted from Facebook chat. Flurry of reckless clatter made the entrance, before the silhouette – that belonging to the only other occupant of my four-bed dorm – edged towards the ladder of his upper bunk.
My eyes may have returned to the screen, yet it was quite an audio impression my roommate was presenting: the thud, against nail-gripped wood, then the scraping of flesh on lumber. Repetition of said sounds and completed was the picture of a grown man failing to clamber into his own bed.
Conviction expended, he slumped against the wall and sat, legs splayed and head drooped, groaning under his breath while losing consciousness.
And I thought I was drunk.
“Mate, are you alright –”
“I’m fine!” was his retort, in a near-incoherent grunt.
I got out of bed and scooted downstairs to buy a bottle of water from reception, returned and shoved it into his hand. Drink up, I heard myself mutter, and assured him it’d make him feel better. He obliged, if only for a couple of sips. I instructed him to sleep at the unoccupied lower compartment of his bunk, which he barely managed to slip into and pass out.
Didn’t think much of how a grown man, theoretically, couldn’t possibly recover from a stupor by himself, I feel asleep in my bed.
It must have been an hour or two later when I felt something slithering into my bed. Or someone.
Drearily, I turned around; my formerly-floor-trawling roommate had now crawled into my bunk and promptly fell unconscious – after he’d put his arm around me and tightening my torso into his cradle.
Amidst my state of whisky-fuelled semi-catatonia, perhaps with a thread of sympathy, I reached for an unoccupied pillow and slipped it under his head.
Neither can I believe I uttered these words, mesmerised post-slumber:
“If you’re going to sleep in my bed, then you may as well make yourself comfortable.”
I aroused, checked the time: seven in the morning.
A distinct noise woke me up. Delirium. Didn’t investigate.
Swayed to the other side of my bed: guy gone.
Back to sleep.
“Guess what happened to me last night?”
Gossiping was obligatory – especially of the hostel sort. Besides, the Dutch girl I was hanging out with the previous night was the first person I saw that morning.
Though she didn’t exert the element of surprise I anticipated, or hoped.
“This guy? He broke into my room last night.”
As the progression of his intoxicated spooning rampage went, shortly after I comforted my inadvertent bedding partner, he sprang out of our shared domain and roamed through her unlocked door, repeating his unruly repertoire – much to her displeasure naturally. She yelled at him and repelled his advances, before he – frowning as she depicted it – colonised the adjacent empty bed and dozed off.
“It must’ve been around seven when he finally left the room.” That explained my brisk hiatus from sleep.
“But which guy was it? I didn’t see his face in the dark.”
I lit up a cigarette, before the hostel entrance where we perched on stools, when the budding words of description subsided to the very culprit appearing through the door – our eyes crossed, only to quicken his luggage-burdened paces.
There were no apologies. Nor justifications. Only the scent of embarrassment and escapism in the wake of my fellow victim’s scorn and demands for answers.
He just fled.
Disclaimer: The featured photograph doesn’t depict the scene of offence. It’s a dormitory of the beautiful BackHome hostel in Kuala Lumpur.
And this isn’t a paid endorsement – I just am rather fond of this place.