Devon was asleep.
Not all of Devon. But 28-year-old Devon Saunders was asleep. Truth be told, he spent much of his time asleep and not just at night. It was three o’clock in the afternoon on a beautiful sunny day.
Occasionally Devon would stir and he could hear the noises outside. Children and adults laughing, shouting, enjoying the July afternoon the way you should. The way Devon didn’t.
He’d meant to do so much today on his day off but, after his lunch, he found he was so tired he had to sleep. Or was it that he couldn’t be bothered to do anything? Why wasn’t he outside enjoying himself?
These thoughts troubled him a little – but not enough to stop him dozing off again.
Devon was so named by his parents because, as an unborn baby, he had been with them on a holiday in the county.
He did not like the name. It had briefly made him popular at school amongst cricket fans when the fast bowler Devon Malcolm was playing for England in the 1990s. But the novelty soon faded.
After leaving school Devon had gone to university to study History. His father warned him to take a more practical subject but he didn’t listen. He wasn’t even that interested in history, he just didn’t want to do what his father suggested.
After college, despite his impractical degree, he drifted into computing. Then, two years ago, his employer offered him a promotion which he couldn’t sensibly refuse financially. But it was a promotion which put him in the embarrassing position of working, and living, in Devon.
He enjoyed his work – up to a point, the money certainly helped – and his social life was fine. From time to time he would make enjoyable returns to his hometown of Derby to see friends and family.
So why was he dozing this afternoon? And why was he trying to justify in his mind not meeting his work colleagues at the pub gig later in Totnes?
Someone once told him about a nationally-famous radio DJ who, one might imagine, had a pretty exciting life in the music industry. And yet this DJ apparently told an interviewer that he felt he was living his life as an observer. That was how Devon felt.
Logically, he told himself, he was bound to feel like that if he didn’t bother to go to events he was invited to. But it still didn’t make him want to go to that gig tonight. Sometimes he even missed events for which he had already bought tickets.
As Devon drifted in and out of sleep more thoughts went through his mind…
Why when someone spoke of arranging a party, or having a good time at a party, did it create a knot in his stomach? Why, so often, was he pleased if an event he had been invited to got cancelled? Or if people he had not met before failed to turn up at an event?
Some years earlier, when he was still working in Derby, he had felt suicidal. To be fair, he was never really likely to do anything stupid.
But he had felt stuck in an unsatisfactory relationship – one he did not have the courage to deal with – and he felt that, had there been a switch to flick to close everything down for good, he would have flicked it. He had read about Churchill and how he described depression as a “black dog” – that felt about right.
But the relationship ended – more through accident than design – and Devon moved to Devon.
So why was he still wrestling with all these other thoughts? He needed to get a grip of his life and sort himself out.
But, first, he would sleep a little more.
To be continued