The Sleepless Night


Author’s Note: This is a short piece I wrote one night after I had a hard time falling asleep.  It’s all exactly as it happened, though it’s told in a narrative form that makes it sound far more dramatic than it actually was.

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The room was dark, save for the dim light that was coming in from the outside.  The glow of the city’s numerous lights illuminated the surrounding atmosphere, making it appear lighter than it should be for this time of night.  It was a cold glow that bathed the room and it’s contents in a faded, grayish hue as it filtered through the blinds.

He laid there quietly on his stomach, staring blankly at the window as he examined the shadows painted on the blinds by the large bush that grew just outside.  To his sleepless eyes, It appeared as though it were some random splatter of black paint, slathered upon a canvas by a drunken artist, or an ink spot used to delve into the psyche of a disturbed mind.

It was 1 a.m., and the warm embrace of sleep would just not come to him on this particular evening.  His eyes wandered about the room as his body lay sprawled out upon the bed, face down with his head turned sideways on the tightly folded pillow and one leg straight with the other bent so that just his knee was just hanging over the edge.  His arm hung over the side of the bed where his fingers dragged lazily along the floor as he moved his hand in a nervous swing, scraping his nails along the carpet back and forth in a rhythmic motion near the two dog toys that he had only moments ago laid to rest there after his young border collie had finally fallen asleep beside him.

Though they were several inches away, he began to move his hand forward just slightly, trying to gauge the distance between his fingers and the toys.  They were distant enough that it was unlikely that he would actually come into contact with them through his normal movements, and yet their nearness bothered him to the point that he finally felt the need to move them a bit farther away, which he eventually did.  There, now that that was settled, he could go back to staring at the window.

The fan, which he kept next to the bed to keep him cool at night, was blowing with its usual, droning hum.  He always found comfort in this sound, and he’d become quite dependent on having some sort of a droning noise such as the fan or a hair dryer (in the rare cases that he found himself to be cold), in order to fall asleep.  Sleep never came easily or lasted for very long without it.

This inherent need of his was often a huge source of consternation for his wife, as she would complain endlessly about how the fan always made her cold and kept her from sleeping.  The dog however absolutely adored the fan, and would often sleep directly in front of it, on his back with his legs up in the air, as border collies often do.  Having the dog laying next to him the way he often did made it quite difficult to turn over in the night, and more often than not led to waking up sore in the morning.  Still, his love for his dog was such that he suffered through it without complaint.  Tonight however, the dog was sleeping happily between them, and the man had all the room he wanted to sprawl out languidly.  Unfortunately however, the sleep would just not come to him, no matter how desperately he tried to reach out to it.  He closed his eyes and tried to relax, but soon enough he once again found himself staring blankly at the shadows on the blinds.

His lips slowly parted, and after a few lengthy moments he quickly sucked back the saliva that had collected near the corner of his mouth, lest it escape and fall to his pillow, just as it had done so many times before while he was sleeping.

His eyes wandered the room again, finally falling upon the fan that was steadily blowing next to him.  Reaching out, he slowly turned the fan, which had heretofore been facing his legs and feet, so that it was now blowing more onto his upper body where it would do a far better job of keeping him cool.  Fortunately his wife was already asleep, so hopefully she wouldn’t wake up and complain about the cold again.

Minutes passed, each one feeling as though it took hours to tick away.  It always felt like this when he would just lay there quietly, trying to still his mind as he laid there in the darkness.

“So, what now?” he thought to himself.

As the cool, gentle brushes of the fan’s air passed over him, it was becoming more and more uncomfortable to lay there in the position he was in. Unfortunately, he knew that turning over wouldn’t provide much relief. The simple fact was that he wasn’t going to be able to fall asleep.

A few more minutes passed.  His eyes wandered about the room and his thoughts suddenly turned to just how he would describe this scene if he were to write it all down, and what would be the point of it if he did?  Did it even matter?  Perhaps once he’d written it all down, he would finally be able to fall asleep.  After all, it was worth a shot.  Wasn’t it?