It’s 3:37 in the morning as I write this and I’ve been awake since 10:00 AM yesterday, after having finally fallen asleep at 7:40 earlier that morning, prior to another sleepless night. If the times in that sentence are hard to figure out, forgive me. Though they seem to make sense to me, I am likely as confused as you. I can’t make time of my sleeplessness. Even the uatterance of that word, like a hiss, a deflating air mattress, a string of zzzzzzzzzs in a vacuum, no medium or tempo. No time. No sleep.
That day before sunrise and many more days, as I lay awake nights, a flashlight in one hand, book in the other. Stories unraveled, pages turned. When I did not or could not read my mind turned over stories of its own. I remember one Christmas Eve when I still believed in Santa Claus: the excitement, the anticipation! No way I was going to sleep that night. My father put me down in his bed, probably knowing that I would not sleep. He said, “Just stay here, and look out the window. You might see Santa and his sleigh.”
I once read that Napoleon Bonaparte was an insomniac, that he slept in fifteen-minute naps every few hours, which helped with his brilliant military strategy, but his years of insomnia—for all we know—also could’ve compounded, the effects contributing to his failures at Waterloo.
For the last two hours I lay in bed, those soothing sounds dripping in my ears from ear buds, and nothing. Instead I have an itch on my back, just beneath the shoulder blade. Then my calf itches, then my ankle. Now the itch has migrated to my temple and my neck. I think my curriculum vitae looks pretty good now. The Tables in Microsoft Word are irritating. I should probably be reading instead of being on the Internet. That is, reading a real book.
Without a dream to steal away, my night is fractured and torn till a day leaks in and I must begin . . . Again.
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