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.

A walk in the park

What looked like yesterday

out a kitchen window I saw

tomorrow and everyday

moving forward

as carefree as

a walk in the park.

Key West Florida, 2020

An open question for the one’s still reading.

What is it that makes you Tik? And I’ll tell you what makes me Tok.

(But for real! What makes you get up in the morning, drives you through the day, and helps guide you to sleep?)

I’m curious to know more about you.

I’m all ears…

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.

So it seems here, now, in the mornings clean light, where all that I can do is observe—in nature that surrounds—human nature take its course.

I spent a good portion of last night, mooring with the tide, tied to emotions, most of which surely weren’t mine to suffer, though, like a good little buoy I did all I could to stay afloat.

But what causes a man to harbor such feelings of faithless dread.

Sympathy? Empathy? Selfless, selfishness?

Isn’t it funny how even when no one asks us to suffer, we often choose to suffer.

Could it stem from guilt? Plausible, though I think not. Depression? No, because I could still move. Trauma? Not in this case, as it had nothing to personally do with me.

Perhaps than maybe deeper, beyond the physical self, far from age or reason, like roots grown deep within the soil, always there yet invisible to the naked eye.

So then what?

Let’s take the current state of society in which the mind is placed.

We are and always have been reactionary beings, jumping to conclusions without fully taking the time and energy to understand or explore where these irrational compulsions come from.

So the year is 2020 and we are still at one another’s throats.

Not a day goes by that I don’t get a phone call whether or not I am willing to vote. Not a day goes by that I don’t see one side of the argument ready and willing to cut the other’s throat. Not a day goes by where I don’t get the impression that peace is just dependent on war, like an inside joke I just don’t get the humor.

So it’s within this grey area that I swim where both sides of the equation continue to expel these deep seeded emotions from within.

Had it not been for the open minded, tirelessly educated guidance and good nature of a mother, I may have gone another way years ago, though still I stay afloat while the undertow continues its torment.

So it seems here, now, in the mornings clean light, where all that I can do is observe—in nature that surrounds—human nature take its course.

I know who I am. And I know my intentions are good. Sometimes our actions speak louder than words but for most of us, words just don’t seem to be heard.

But that’s no reason to destroy what you can’t control.

So for those who cannot express or explain this current state of extremes we face both alone and together, I suggest this: be a beacon of hope.

Because what we know today, with or without our help, will surely change tomorrow.

So even in my darkest hours, I know, hope will never falter, light will find a way, and tides will turn, if not now, then surely another day.

Alone and writing.

When Butterflies Were Band-aids

Look me in my heartache

And tell me there’s a cure

When butterflies were band-aids

Where fact and fiction blur

Speak to me in virtues

The one’s I’m pickled for

When only field’s were diamonds

And playgrounds left you sore

Hold me in your sorrow

With hands so soft and pure

When bedtime meant tomorrow

Was absolutely sure

Hear me as the willows

Send shivers down your spine

When fluff was just for pillows

Where wonder’s in the pine

Sense me in my mourning

For those yet to be fed

When fear meant it was pouring

Where Rover was still red

Send prayers if you still got em

Though mine have long since fled

This well’s filled from the bottom

Where sailboats are led

What those lost do not say.

Remember me tomorrow

For who I was today

And understand my sorrow

Was never yours to save —

For everyone has reasons

The grieving call them brave

Who fought too many seasons

To end up in this grave

Still don’t mistake this sorrow

I’ve borrowed mine today —

Yet listen for tomorrow

What those lost do not say.