waiting for the definition of sunrise, tossing and turning, as it is said, Timothy stared into the patterns of the ceiling swathed by the moonlight mixed with clocklight, illuminating bits and pieces of reflectant objects in the night. It was a world beyond endurance, a world where one woke during a sleep needed to replenish exhaustion, and could see things that perhaps were not meant to be seen. Yes, it is true, not much sleep is needed to survive. But in order to not be in a constant state of aggravated anxiety, it can be beneficial to be well-rested. Not happening tonight, as it has not happened in many a night. From whence comes this stress? There are a million little reasons to give to manifestations of tension in one’s daily life. The uncivility of an overweight woman taking your money at the toll booth. The way a stranger brushed up against you in the subway, unheeding. The touch of cheap paper napkins. The unending demands of those who have more comfort and money, and those who have less. The little girl staring at you out the back of a passing Oldsmobile. When Timothy was in third grade, he had headaches everyday after school. It occurred for three months and finally he was taken to the doctor, who ran tests, such as placing Timothy on a stretcher and sliding him into a mechanical device that made loud noises that accelerated to indicate that it was forming pictures of his brain, and after an hour and a half of this, there were colored diagrams with no signs of anything abnormal–no tumors, no schizophrenia. Just stress, is what the doctor told his mom. He must just be having some extra stress. Stress from what? what exactly does a child in third grade get stressed about? The teacher who calls him names in order to feel better about her dry and bitter life? The insecure bully who physically and verbally abuses him at recess and after school? The standardized tests to determine whom is “gifted” or not? The arts and crafts sections of Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas, when finally creativity is encouraged, even if only to crayon in the white sections of print-outs from cheap cheesy books the teacher found in her closet from the year before?
The ceiling consists of a textured white wall that gleams blue with yellowish tints in the late night/early morning light. His own mind rebels against what he knows he needs. Sleep, sleep, sleep. He is scared, perhaps, of dreams, of when pieces of the suppressed world within himself will arise and play ruthlessly like childish tyrants with the pieces of his everyday world–trivial, amplified, monsterous, and meaningless. Everytime that he looks at the clock, an hour has passed in which he could have been asleep. And then the alarm is ringing and it is time. Time for a tomorrow that he is not prepared for, and will never be prepared for, because it has passed, is passing, is gone even before he got out of bed, because everything that would give him joy has been slaughtered in the night by his fear.


Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

2 thoughts on “Insomnia”

  1. I can relate tho this so very well. Not being able to sleep at night is a tough thing to deal with. I enjoyed reading this.

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