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 Devil to one is God to another.

The Devil to one

is God to another.

It’s a cycle continued

that is, until

we stop looking to the sky,

stop burying our trauma,

and look our neighbor

dead in the eye,

without retaliation or judgement

and listen, to one another’s heart

which beats to the same rhythm

as a newborn babe

that is, until

birth begins

its earthly decay.

The ability to discover is a gift in itself and it’s that same gift of discovery that makes our individual perception unique.

Have you ever noticed that the thing you are most excited to share with another person, be it a new book, movie, podcast, idea, or what you think happens to be something to be considered “the greatest,” that their excitement never quite matches your own?

Of course you have. We’re all human.

And have you ever noticed that upon showcasing this thought or idea to another that when you do, their reaction never quite lives up to your expectation, which leaves you feeling either hurt or discouraged?

I will not take it upon myself to assume that you have though I will tell you this: I have.

And it’s a very tough thing to understand.

In the moment of realization that your appreciation for something you deem extraordinary hasn’t been deeply felt in the same way by another can often cause conflict, misunderstanding, and judgement—that is reactionary rather than honest.

Instead of expressing our pain for what seems a lack of appreciation in the moment, we often turn to criticism, which is in itself a form of false pride.

Rather than saying, “I’m confused as to why you don’t feel the way I do about what I’m showing you,” one says, “well, of course you don’t get it,” or more often than not, we say nothing, letting our emotions fester to distress and shame.

In the Alchemist, Paulo Coelho writes: “It’s not what enters men’s mouths that’s evil, it’s what comes out of their mouths that is.”

Well if that’s not the boldest yet truest statement to have ever been penned than I implore you to enlighten me as I’ve found myself in this predicament more times than I am willing to admit.

My point is, we can’t expect another’s reaction to mirror our own.

We shouldn’t expect them to for the simple fact that they are their own person, with their own background, beliefs, and experiences that before judgement deserve appreciation and due time to process and articulate what is being presented.

What took the time to find, understand, and appreciate should also be granted—the time—to another.

It’s like telling someone rather than suggesting someone read a book.

Your willingness to share does not determine one’s willingness to receive.

It’s like giving someone the answer without allowing them to solve the equation.

The ability to discover is a gift in itself and it’s that same gift of discovery that makes our individual perception unique.

So the next time you offer someone a gift, regardless of their reaction, remember who you’re sharing it with and why you chose them to share it with you all over again.

I think then you will find an even deeper appreciation for yourself and another.

Santa Monica. September 6, 2020

They had me at goodbye.

They had me at goodbye

as they always seemed to die

slow like a rose

one day jubilant and alive

then like sleep goes the week

and it’s noticed that the rose

has died. But see, I kept them there

all wilted and decayed

brown and crumpled I’d debate

taking them to the trash

throwing them away, though

a rose in its youth is beautiful

so too is a rose left to dry.

So I pressed them between pages

and drew a pretty picture

poured ink from my memory

so that even in death

they’d remain

alive.

bits of lives

We are built up of

so many different lives.

Like thieves in the night

we steal bits without telling

those we’ve robbed.

How curious it is that those bits

would be so conveniently

left out for our taking.

How awfully clever too.

I Voted

For what exactly

I am not sure

But today I voted

I voted for people who unlike I

Have power

Power to make a difference

Power to make a change

Power to exercise our rights

As a community of working people

We have power

I have power

And you have power

For what exactly

I am not sure

Until tomorrow

VOTE!