Words streaming through my brain, linking, twisting, and rejoining—urgently and repeatedly, drove me from my bed at 4:38 this morning. Intent upon capturing some and exorcising others, I slunk down the stairs to find my west facing living room aglow in moonlight. I stopped, as did the words in my head. As much as I admire sunrises and sunsets in all their varying colorful glamour, the moon exerts a pull on my heart as of tides. Her cool monochromatic sublimity loosens my grip on the fevered daytime strivings that have followed me into the night. Stop now. See. Breathe.
Insomnia nibbles away the minutes of what should be my good night’s sleep. My head crowds with unwritten words, snatches of song, to-do lists and the recurrent montage of embarrassing moments past. Ghostly tickles play across my ribcage, my ankle, my neck. There is nothing there when I brush my hand against my skin. The tickle fades whether I scratch at it or not, but I can’t help myself—what if it is a bug? It isn’t a bug. Lying on my right side, my underwear bunches uncomfortably. Lying on my left gives rise to a breathless panicky feeling, what is that about? Lying on my back feels pointless. My husband is restless in the same bed but in a different universe. His sleeplessness is a dual problem: he needs to rest both in order to function and to be fit to live with. I get up so I don’t contribute to his issue. Minnesota’s fever has broken and the temp outside has dropped to 71 degrees. The moonlight makes the world bright but a little blurry; the houses are softened in a way I remember from the pre-Lasik days. I turn on my computer and am blinded by the screen. Maybe if I write my lists down I can turn off my brain for awhile: write a blog post, contact sources for next month’s article, respond to messages from the last blog post, check younger son’s summer reading, edit some short stories, look for a market for short stories, what is good enough to go out? Write something new, plan menus for the rest of the week, work out to counter all the recent indulgences, book a flight to visit mom, force the kids to clean the xbox room.
This isn’t helping. I hear the creak of the bed upstairs as my husband struggles to find repose. When he rolls over in bed, it shifts violently, like a raft riding waves in a storm.
I am grateful this doesn’t happen more often. For me it is a rare lingering visit to the surreal grey zone between daytime normal and nighttime unconscious. For my friend Kelly, this would be a normal night. She would scoff at my wimpy loss of a few hours. Call me some night when you’ve had a solid week like that, she might say. Seriously, call me, I’ll be up. I won’t call her tonight, though. That would be rude, and I’d have to get up and find my phone. I’m just sleepless, not energetic.
The sky brightens to the east. When I think of the long dark winter nights, an edging toward dawn at 4:30 a.m. seems a profligate use of daylight. That’s nature for you. All bounteous overflowing abundance, then the backhand smack of privation and/or disaster. That sounds like a blog for another day. Which could be today, now that day is arriving…
Yep. I am going down the rabbit hole all right. It is time to let my laptop get some sleep at least. Thanks for keeping me company.