Lying Awake Feels Like This
The middle of the night feels slightly hysteric. Since late night TV and corporate lifestyles, midnight is what 8:30 p.m. probably was to the generations before. ‘Twilight’ has been co-opted by a low-grade teen horror tale.
You’re lying awake at 4:12 in the morning. You dreamt of a guy you had a crush on 10 years ago. And he was offering to connect you to a great workplace. Then he looked at you longingly and reached for your cheek. You held your breath and also your reserve and told him he was married and a father. Happily married to a beautiful woman. You don’t know about the ‘happy’, you don’t really know him that well. But you assume that if a baby was made together, they must have been happy at some point. He looks back at you and says, “She looks just like you.” And you’re at a loss for words.
But that’s a dream. It felt so real. You’re even scrabbling around in your memory to see if you can remember the email address he mentioned. It sounded like such a great job. “Yes”, you should have said, “I’d noticed.”
And he’d say, “I wanted to ask you out then, you know.”
You’d reply, “I had a crush on you, then. But that was ten years ago. And you’re married and a father now. Happily married.”
Then the conversations loops back to the same place.
That’s what convinces you finally, that it was a dream. And the reality is that you’re lying in bed awake. Too early to get up and start the day. Late enough that if you fall asleep, you’ll sleep past the alarm and ruin yet another day.
Yesterday was lost. Lost in a bloodied clot of menstrual pain, of avoidance-by-missed calls, of the low after mid-week resolutions and sleeping. It’s gone forever, that Thursday. It was nothing remarkable but it’s gone. You console yourself saying that you’re at a place where you can afford to lose a day or two. You’ve stolen so many from your health, your peace of mind and your youth, after all. The time-keeper’s doing some book-keeping, that’s all.
So you look to your phone instead and wonder, as you have, every lull between dream-states, what you should reply. ‘He asked me out’, you text your friend but she’s asleep right now. You know she’ll tell you he’s bad news. You know he is. That’s why you asked her to remind you in such situations. But she’s asleep. Luckily, so is he. You start to type a reply to him. Then you stop. You go back and erase the draft, in case it gets sent out by mistake.
You look at the stream of endless news, ravings, rants and opinions pouring in from around the world, into your palm. You worry, worry, worry about how to get into it. You fit in by standing out here. But you’re just drowning, getting lost in the ether. The universe has a place for you, somebody told you once. Maybe this is not the right universe. It’s time, it is that time you decide. That moment that you will look back on, in the years to come, when you decided to turn left. It is time.
4:27, the clock says. Your eyes hurt now. So you click your phone shut and close your eyes.