Apprehensively, he opened the door, and a dozen or so faces turned to look at him. He swallowed hard. He could be in any room. This was a crazy idea. He should see a doctor; he should...
"Lewis! My man! Bit heavy on the booze last night?" The tone was caustic, and came from a square-shouldered, blond-haired guy, seated by a large window at the left side of the room.
Lewis had a feeling he was in the correct room, though he was beginning to wish he wasn't. Without responding to the derision, he let his feet guide him to a chair, and as he sat down, he realised the view from the window was familiar; not just the view itself, but the angle. This was where he usually sat. He ran his finger over the inner edge of the desk, and found familiar grooves, recognisable graffiti. He saw...his handwriting, though characteristically illegible even to himself. Only the letters 'S*****um Wood' were visible.
"Never seen a desk before?" This voice was not unkind; the same, familiar, voice that he'd heard the previous night.
Lewis turned to look at the speaker. A tall, well-built guy of south-asian complexion was looking at him with a good-humoured expression, which changed to a querulous one.
"What happened to you last night?" He asked
"I..." Lewis trailed off, searching for the right words, but only one came to him: 'Rat'.
"You feeling ok?"
With those words, Lewis remembered who he was speaking to. Rat had been in his class for years. They'd been friends for most of that time, but Rat didn't know about....what? Lewis was aware of some aspect of his life, closed to this confrere. He was aware of it in a broad, amorphous sense; of its vast boundaries and great significance, but without knowledge of its specific features; as one is aware of a missed assignation, a forgotten responsibility.
"Y-yeah, i'm just a little, emm, tired." Lewis stuttered, unwilling to reveal any more until he had a clearer picture, himself. He wasn't sure who he could talk to.
"After last night? Yeah, you looked a bit pale." Rat observed. "I was going to go after you, but Jessie..."
"It's fine." Lewis cut in. "I'll be fine."
It was a parapraxis; he'd meant to speak in the past tense, but that was what he was beginning to feel - he WOULD be fine. He was aware of areas of his memory, obscured as by veils, but if he could just approach them armed with enough pieces of the jicksaw, they would fall away.