Insomnia: A Short Story

The television’s on.

It’s freezing in here.

I should probably be asleep, but I’m not.

It’s 4:53. It’s always 4:53, when, click, the heat turns on.

Now the draft from the window’s competing with the dull heat, which smells like last years dust, pouring through the vent, above the door, which leads to the living room where the TV’s still on.

In about an hour the sun will be up and it will be another morning.

I can’t tell yet whether or not I’ll be excited or scared, but either way, I have to write my grandmother—thanking her for the letter she sent a couple days prior—she used to fill the cards with glitter but doesn’t anymore…

Perhaps there’s a glitter shortage, I don’t know.

I’ve been pulling my beard out again, which I don’t like, but still do. Why? A doctor would probably claim it’s nerves but by this point in life I know better than that.

It’s funny really, thoughts, how they come and go as easily as a hair can be plucked from your chin.

If I had eggs in the fridge I’d probably boil some for breakfast but I don’t have any because yesterday while shopping I’d debated prices in my head for what seemed like too long to be debating prices of eggs, causing an uncomfortable feeling I just couldn’t shake, making me anxious and aware that I’d been standing in the isle for what seemed like eons though was probably only a couple minutes, still, too long to be debating whether or not I wanted to pay 2.39 or 2.99 for a dozen of eggs.

The heat feels good now, while the right side of my face warms up, the left side is still dealing with the draft from the window.

Common sense tells me to close the window though my better judgement says to just let it be. What’s the point, really?

It’s 5:06 now. It’s always 5:06.

The repetitive nature of this statement keeps recurring in my mind as if the idea isn’t fully mine, though I use it anyway.

Perhaps it’s my conscious mind coming back to me? Perhaps it’s programming I just don’t have the strength to deny, either way…whatever.

It’s 8:08 on the East Coast. My mother’s probably pouring coffee, reading the morning news. My brother’s probably already dragged himself from bed and into work. My nephew’s to school. My sister-in-law to her studio where she makes jewelry from metal and her imagination.

Their routine gives me comfort because right now I don’t have one.

This pandemic has us all in a pretty weird state of affairs, though, my affairs have always been pretty weird now that I think about it.

At least I’m writing again. That’s good.

Everything is pretty all right right now—knock on wood.

And what if this is as good as it gets? Hog wash.

At least it’s warm in here, closing the window, watching the sun rise.

My nail beds are long. I’ve always been told that. “You’ve got piano hands,” they said once, go figure, I don’t play—if I did this would probably make for a better story though, well, you know.

Turning off the TV seems irrational as it’ll just get turned on again tonight, unless, unplugging the TV—Ah! That’s better.

Insomnia, it’s the breakfast of champions.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, the letter.

Alone, together

Where are we

but forever

Alone, together

in the cosmos

of our love.

Austin’s Iced, 2020

You just have to live.

Being sober’s

as overrated

as being drunk—

nobody wins.

You just have to live.

your conscience

I was this

I was that

I was—rat-a-tat-tat—

Who’s there?

Who’s knocking, oh

Welcome back Jack!

You are here

Door’s open

Let’s have a chit-chat

I am great

I am grand

I am—rat-a-tat-tat—

A friend?

Who’s there?

Who’s knocking at my nerves?

It’s me, your conscience

I am here to serve

You not what you have been

Or whatever you were

I am here as your guide

I am honest

I am pure

Heaven here on earth.

How curious it is that I

no longer beg or question why

but rather like the naked eye

accepts the sky is blue—

with honesty and strength that I’ve

been granted through these tales of time

woven as one as you are I

accepts the ancient truth,

for like the moon and sun decide

to shed or shield eternal light

with arms spread thin wide opened eye

keep mine closed now to see,

what beauty lies beyond the pine

is neither up to you nor I

it’s always been like time gone by

regardless of the proof—

in truth it’s curious that I

could feel so pure estranged from life

whose meadow in the golden light

is heaven here on earth.

the slow melancholia of twilight

We can no longer create each other

in the likeness of ourselves. But

we still can love who we’ve dreamed

warm under covers,

in the slow melancholia of twilight.

Though separate, still a part

painting one another’s shadow —

an impression all our own.

Memories

I keep coming across memories

in the background of my mind.

They say to live within the present

or else life’s a waste of time.

But presently these memories

have left me color blind.

And I can’t quite find my way out

of this never ending rhyme.

I keep coming across memories

like bicycles speeding by.

Their features blur together

with wind burnt summer skies.

How presently these memories

present themselves as I,

remember each one vividly

to whom each one I’ve lied.

How precious are these memories

kept sound within the dark.

Each one with their own melody

from which I’d never part.

Though presently these memories

which bear my open heart,

may one day get the best of me

for now are works of art.

Like puppetry two marionette

I took her to this art event

She took me to her motel bed

Like puppetry two marionette

We tangled up our strings

Her eyes were wide like Eleanor

Rigby she was fiction for

The life I’d led a year before

I hadn’t slept a wink

It’s comical how looks predict

The ludicrous and obvious

By circumstance we came to this

Offering by the sea

Her hair jet black like ravens beak

The padding of her size 6 feet

Lenore her name I said quite meek

This time then nevermore

It’s lyrical how time can tell

Who’s heaven sent and living hell

An angel with a broken bell

Knows liberation’s free

Sometimes I think coincidence

Common sense and saying yes

Are infinite never in jest

Like cherry blossoms we

Sell ourselves a dollar short

Make amends and then spring forth

Pink petals fall on the seashore

There’s no telling what could be

An accident a sign from God

A work of faith handshake or nod

They’re simply an illusion on

The pleasure box we see

The message spoke ten times before

By Poe and his dear loved Lenore

Like love’s the end all message for

Both poetry and speech

So I took her to the airline that

Disagreed with both our backs

I mean this with no disrespect

It’s how some people meet

We never spoke another word

Jumped back into the universe

I came to grips was late for work

And landed on my feet

The game is rigged the money’s spent

If I stay in bed too long

dreaming of the times gone by

There must be something wrong

like not knowing what is right

If I get up and get gone

still daydreaming in the morning light

There must be something wrong

because all I see is black and white

Out there on the road

passing frowns can’t weigh me down

Like songs from days of old

freewheeling there’s no time to tell

She’s been reaching for the sun

did all I could to take her there

Must be doing something wrong

like two children we’re still unprepared

To walk

on our own

As state signs blur

on the road

Yet all this time

we have grown

There’s still this

phantom partner feeling

though we’re on our own.

When you go there’s still coming back

don’t be extreme like who needs that?

There must be something wrong

for me to feel like this and that

She was going either way

it didn’t matter if I saved the day

There must be something wrong

for me to think or feel this pain

Standing in the setting sun

which blinds me now casts shadows on

Reflections on the windowpane

my doppelgänger’s staring back at me

If looks could kill I’d live

my malice spite all gibberish

God knows if I could commit

I’d probably muck it up like a little kid

Whose ball

hits the rim

It bounces far

time and again

The game is rigged

the money’s spent

Yet there’s this

faint glimmer of hope

like there’s a chance to win.