Sleep, Metaphorically

I am awakened with a start. A jump. As if I’ve been dreaming of falling. My heart is racing. My jaw is clenched. My skin is clammy. I take a breath. I turn my head to see the clock. My neck is stiff from resting my head the wrong way on the couch cushion. It’s 2:14am.

The cool glow of the TV lights up the living room. I shift, and my foot hits into Shannon’s foot. She’s asleep on the other end of the L-shaped sofa. A few nights a week she and I have slumber parties. We munch on late night snacks and binge on comfort TV, like The Office, or Friends. Lately, she’s been having trouble sleeping.

I sit up and fumble around on the coffee table for the remote. Wrappers rustle and drumsticks clank together before I finally find it. I turn off the TV, reach for my glass, and take a big sip of water. I rearrange the cushions, lie back down on the sofa, and close my eyes.

I do my best to think of nothing. None of the things that I don’t allow myself to think about between midnight and 7am. Just breathing. Scanning the body. Floating along the breath. Safe enough in my house. Comfortable enough on the couch. At some point, I drift off.

I am awakened with a start. A jump. As if I’ve been dreaming of being chased. My heart is racing. My jaw is clenched. My skin is clammy. I take a breath. I turn my head to see the clock. My right arm under me is all pin and needles. It’s 3:34am.

The room is mostly dark except for the faint streetlight bleeding in through the front porch. I move slowly so as not to awaken the kid. The couch squeaks. I accidentally kick her foot as I get up. I make my way to the bathroom and back. As I round the coffee table, I trip over a couch cushion. My hand lands on the table with a loud thud. I whisper a curse word.

I lie back down. Settle in. Breathe. Doing my best to save all thinking for the morning. Later. I can think about that later. Safe enough in my house. Comfortable enough on the couch. Breathing. Scanning the body. Floating along on the breath. At some point, I drift off.

I am awakened with a start. A jump. As if I’ve been dreaming of drowning. My heart is racing. My jaw is clenched. My skin is clammy. I take a breath. I turn my head to see the clock. I’m hoping it’s at least 6am. It’s 5:03.

I decide it’s time to move upstairs. I roll off of the couch and begin the climb. I keep an eye on Shannon as I ascend, slowly and carefully. But each step in this old house creaks louder than the last, echoing through the early morning stillness. Luckily, I make it to the landing, undetected. I turn into our bedroom. John is awake, propped up on pillows, scrolling through his phone. ‘Hey bub,’ he says ‘I’ve been up for hours.’ I climb into our bed. ‘Try to get some sleep’ he says, encouragingly, hopefully.

I close my eyes. I do my best to think of nothing. Just breathing. Scanning the body. Floating on the breath. Safe enough in my house. Comfortable enough in my bed. Needing sleep. Wanting sleep. Welcoming sleep. At some point, I drift off.

I am awakened with a start…

2 comments

  1. Feels stuck. Drained. Even sleep takes energy. Is that part of it?
    To try to walk with you instead of feeling for you or with you would allow us to support you maybe in some way. This is so relatable. Please know we do care

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