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.

The time between collision and capsizing

There is something very scary

about imagining a life without flaw,

as if insecurities were a sin

you could merely pray away?

There’s something cynical in that,

something dangerous.

Something I haven’t the heart to feel,

it’s something impervious.

Because with great peril comes

an even greater awakening, an awakening

which floods the veins with frozen certainty

as the waters eating the Titanic.

It’s the time between collision

and capsizing, which we find ourselves

relieved of our blind faith, knowing

with grave admiration, the life

we’re living, is all we have.

July Reflection, 2020

A needle in hay

How can a man

give so much of himself

to the past, and so little

to his future?

The answer

can be found as quickly

as a needle in hay.

It’s a needle

that always draws a little blood.

2011 Wearing glasses? In a diner, probably.

Victims

But there are no victims here,

just prisoners of choice,

who wear recycled smiles,

and boil inside.

Somewhere between 2011-2013

Isolation

It is as cold

as a steel locket,

isolation

loosely hangs

two chains from a collar,

white as bone, worn

from the hours, of nuance

carefully placed by the bedside,

waiting to be opened

polished and willing

as obligatory as peace

before, the inevitable dawn

which beckons us to

repeat, our autumnal fall

from the burdens we carry.

Whatever you decide, do it without the need for validation—we are one.

Whatever you decide, do it without the need for validation.

To seek validity is but a farce. It’s like aiming to make a splash in a rain puddle.

A child learns early on whether they care to admit it or not, that their choice is theirs and theirs alone. Nobody really cares more than it takes them to realize, eventually with age, that nobody really cares.

Sure, a mother cares deeply, but only as far as it interrupts her well being.

A father can break his back many times, but only as many times as it serves his cause.

Progression doesn’t come from an audience. Progression comes from within.

Progression comes from love, awareness, and nurture.

And although social media tells a different story from reality, we seek it, crave it, we often need it, but do we really?

Perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn from posting our day to day lives, morality, and hardships is that we are all equally as alone as we are the same—myself included.

Not too long ago, there was a time, it seemed, the world was much larger than we could ever imagine.

Driving cross country felt then like an achievement whereas now—after doing it more than a dozen times—it feels more like a routine I’d rather not admit.

Mostly it’s this that scares me.

Desensitization. It’s this that makes me wonder.

What’s the point?

The point is to treat yourself with the same dignity you would a stranger—a child.

The point is to look beyond life’s blessings, with eyes wide shut, and understand that all will be regardless of whatever validation you seek.

We can learn this by simply looking at a flower bloom. We can understand this by accepting that although, it may seem, the flower dies, another will take its place, as equally and wholly as beautiful as its former.

So whatever you decide, decide knowing, you aren’t as separate as you feel—we are all one.

Long Island Cottage, 2012

In this life choose many lifestyles

In this life choose many lifestyles.

When one gets boring, flip the script.

Don’t pigeonhole yourself.

As many lifestyles as there are,

there are just as many lives to live.

2011-2020

I allow the teachings of the past to help guide my future.

After a good, long day of self reliance, sleep, and in depth personal analysis, I am left with this thought.

What you do from here on out is your own cross to bear.

Though like a broken record I’ve continued to circle in place.

But why?

Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Well, though I agree I’m no Einstein, I’m not insane, I’m just a bit of a slow learner.

See, the hardest pattern to break isn’t necessarily the pattern but the mission so to speak.

We’re all on our own personal mission, aren’t we?

And whether or not we choose to accept it, it exists.

It’s taken many years through trial and error, deliberation, and self reliance to understand.

Carole King said, “you’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart…”

Carole also had two children by the time of her divorce and continued to create with love and compassion.

So what’s my personal mission? And what’s yours?

Will we rise tomorrow with faith and gratitude in our hearts or repeat the same patterns that no longer serve us?

Olmec said, “the choices are yours and yours alone.”

But of course we all need a few humorous anecdotes to help us get through.

And I will, as will you.

Tomorrow, reach a little further than you did today. Try something new and show the world the love in your heart. The choices are yours.

And I’ve built my cross, one which I’m willing to bear.

It’s a heavy son of a gun, but I assure you I’ll be walking, hand over foot—that which does not kill us, makes us stronger— like Nietzsche once said.