I wrote this for The Write Practice this morning. It was inspired by This City Never Sleeps, by The Eurythmics – they were my favorite band when I was a teenager, and I wrote a piece about this song before, when I was about 15. My English teacher didn’t like it…

Midtown Manhattan from Liberty Harbor in Weeha...

Midtown Manhattan from Liberty Harbor in Weehawken New Jersey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another tube train rattles past, shaking the old house with its crumbling plaster and loose fitting, mildew stained windows. I ram my pillow over my head trying to drown out the noise.

It’s 2am. Hopefully that was the last train tonight. Not that I will sleep any better, not in this apartment.

I’d only been living here a couple of weeks. It was all I could afford with my tin pot wages. Moving to the city was not as glamorous as I had imagined.

This house, divided as it was into too many dwellings, heaved with damp, fetid, crawling life.

I haven’t got used to the endless cacophony – the barely muffled talking, laughing, shouting, smacking, sucking, barking, clicking, switching, ticking I can hear behind the paper thin walls. I can hear people BREATH. I can hear them sweat. I can hear them moan and move against each other.

The pillow isn’t helping. I get up and walk to the bathroom. With the dull light from the flickering bulb I can see my reflection in the mirror above the sink. My eyes peer back at me from dark rims, my skin grey and breaking out in places. I splash my face with cold water, and watch the drips slide down my cheeks and drop from my chin.

Leaving the bathroom, I take a slurp of vodka from the bottle on my bed side table, light a cigarette and lay back on my pillow. Smoking has replaced sleeping, for me. I watch a moth flutter against the curtainless window, trying to get out into the darkness, and I listen to the people, whose names I do not know, struggling to survive in a city that never sleeps.