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.

When I was a kid—after bedtime—as quietly as I could, I would crawl from my bed, onto the floor, then elbow and knee my way down the hallway to lay in the doorway of my brothers room…

When I was a kid—after bedtime—as quietly as I could, I would crawl from my bed, onto the floor, then elbow and knee my way down the hallway to lay in the doorway of my brothers room to watch his television.

He’s four years older than I am and, well, I thought he was really cool.

One, for having a TV in his bedroom. And two, for probably knowing I was there but not saying anything.

Whatever he was watching didn’t really make a difference but it was comfortable there, on the carpet, with the blue light flashing.

A dark bedroom can be pretty scary to a child, especially during a thunderstorm.

Now that we’re older, we speak when it is necessary, but not all the time.

Probably less than either of us cares to admit.

He’s a busy working husband and parent while I’m pretty much all over the map.

Though when we do talk, it’s a meaningful talk of mutual reflection. He provides me with information from four years down the line and I remind him that I’m listening by offering whatever small insights are on my mind.

I thought he was great then and I still do now. No matter the distance the bond between two brothers is strong and unwavering.

Basically what I am saying is I look forward to the next time we’re able to watch a little TV, crack a couple jokes, and just hang out—without any pressure—even if it means the carpet or floor, that’ll be enough.

The Sweatpants King And His Little Brother

at midnight’s crescent

in daylight’s darkness

rest unanswered questions

like firefly flash

bedroom eyed confessions

the cool blue air

at midnight’s crescent

the mind disappears

in faith I am present

Staring at the Blank White Ceiling.

In a perfume spoiled bedroom.
On a rain soaked summer’s Sunday.
Under a bleach white canopy.
Lay a girl ensconced.

Holding close, her Care Bear, she pondered.
When would be the right time to tell the truth?
Or.
Was the truth even worth telling?

Staring at the blank white ceiling.
It had felt right at the time.
Almost natural.
As a result of her seeming neglect.

Though now looking back – his eyes,
his lips, salty from pork-chops –
the way he abruptly reached for her crotch,
now all seemed wrong.

How could he (i.e. not the crotch grabber) do this to her?
Her mind shifting gears now.
Forgetting the one night loss of self,
and remembering why she’d felt so alone.

It wasn’t her fault.
She wasn’t the one who left.
She was the one making the real sacrifice.
Yet why it all felt so wrong she couldn’t quite pin point.

Her makeup had always been done.
His needs, to her knowledge, were always met.
And she always made sure to tell him, she loved him, didn’t she?
Yet now lying in bed, she couldn’t fight back the tears.

Damn him and his selfishness.
How could she be so stupid to believe his lies.
She kept telling herself that they were lies, lies, lies.
But knew deep down they weren’t, they couldn’t have been.

After confessing the truth, over the white cordless telephone, her chest felt lighter.
A warm wave of relief quickly rushed through her veins.
A relief that she knew would not last.
How could anything last in a world so concerned with change?

It was nearly 10 o’clock, which meant reruns of her favorite television sitcom would be on soon.
Wiping her face with a rice pad, and brushing her teeth, she knew she did the right thing.
Telling the truth gave her validation, a confidence that could not be smeared.
She was tired of being the so called doormat.

She lay, transfixed, to the images and sounds emitting from the pleasure box on her nightstand.
It was the one where Eric and Donna share their first kiss.
It reminded her of many kisses that had been kissed.
And left her befuddled all the same.

Not liking this feeling she turned off the television.
Awake in the dark she could feel her heartbeat, beat-beat, beat-beat.
This was and was not her fault – she’d never eat a pork-chop again.
What really hurt, though, was that things would never be the same.

Yet in the back of her mind.
Tucked away in the dream she had that night.
There was this feeling.
A truth, that she was alright with that.