SLEEP AND OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS

by Lisa

This day, I read things on the internet.  I wrote a thing for the internet.  I compared my words to other people’s, and I don’t know how I stack up.  Being objective is impossible, of course.  I am also kind of a mess anyway.

The last two nights of sleeplessness have left me absolutely wrinkled, crumpled, wobbly: think of an anemone two hours out of the vase.  What did I do before I had the Magic Sleep Medicine?  How did I turn off my brain when my body wanted to stop?  I practiced patience last night, and soothed myself in the old ways.  My feet rubbed the sheets perfectly smooth at the bottom of the bed.  My hands, I bargained into relaxing underneath my pillow, flat and lax in the cool.  I told my body to go to sleep one limb at a time, one digit at a time, one vertebrae at a time, like Gram taught me to do.  Still, my head prattled on, with its entertaining voice, twirling thoughts into sleep-preventing announcements.  Important Things, every one.

One Important Thing had to do with the struggle between my body and my mind.  Oh, what does accidental silence sound like?  My mind never rests, my ears hear even in a vacuum.  The noose-tightening hum-and-squeal worsens with time, loud in my head against the pillow without other sounds to make me forget its company.  The noise makes me think about the noise, like the concern over having anxiety causes anxiety.  Embarrassment over blushing makes me blush, when nothing but embarrassment over being misunderstood as timid can actually embarrass me.  Roundabout reasoning like this occupies my almost-asleep thoughts, and solutions or revelations pull me fully into consciousness…again.  Last night, I fought that battle between body and mind for who knows how long.  Four hours?  The last glance at the phone read 2:40.

I squeezed out a few frustrated tears, anger at failed meditation, and slugged down four Benadryl.  An hour later, two more.  Slept, drugged, heavy with relief.  Barely knew when morning came, when the small person began to talk to me.  She always wakes up with something important to say.  We take our dreamlives seriously around here, plotting them at bedtime, sharing in the morning.  The dreamtalk sometimes makes us late for school.

The morning came moments after sleep, really.  I saw pink light before I fell asleep, so…two hours?  I stayed in bed for another hour, but once I wake up, up I stay.  One person bears the gift of sleeping-in, and he gives it freely, even when I would rather spend those sleepful hours awake with him.  But he lulls me back into dreams, good ones always, with such surety, that I obey gratefully.  On my own, things are different.  Morning is morning.

Important Things keep me awake; the ringing in my ears supports the cause of my busy brain.  My doctor callsme a sleep-worrier, but worry doesn’t fit what goes on in there.  No name, yet.  The thoughts are made of things that I never say out loud.  I maintain a private conversation with myself, sometimes made of nonsense and sometimes made of brilliance.  What happens when you tuck yourself into bed?  How does that veil fall so quickly for you, sending you over the edge, with soft twitches and smoothed breath?  I watch, entertained and envious.

Tonight, back to the Magic Sleep Medicine.  I have to drive to the pharmacy, which I am much too tired to do.  I’ll do it.  I have to.  Last night’s two paltry hours proved it, after I had hoped that my comfortable tiredness would allow me to have real sleep–normal, other-people-style sleep.

I will sleep tonight, sedated.  That has to be good enough for now.

 

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