It's quarter past one and I've been up since four. I lie down, turn off the light and wait. Exhaustion means I should sleep well, but I don't. I've forgotten something, or so I think. But my teeth are brushed, my face washed, water glass is filled and my heart is light. So, what is it?
This happens so often. I can't remember the last time I slept soundly. I shift positions, from my back to my side and then to my belly. I curl my legs, fluff my pillow. I sigh.
My breaths deepen and I feel myself slipping.
But the hound is snoring. His paws twitch and he gives off whimpers in his tender puppy dream and I smile. I never mind being roused from slumber for him. I shift away, putting space between his furry body and my bare legs, but as soon as he feels me move, he inches back until he's nestled against me again. He makes me laugh.
It's half past two. And time keeps moving.
The sound of the fan, which is usually so soothing, is too loud in the silence of this night. It doesn't whir or burr as usual. There is a ticking in the white noise, like one of the fans is hitting the wire frame. Tick, tick, tick. It keeps me from falling into my dreams, or nightmares, or the landscapes my imagination is dying to conjure up.
I close my eyes. I open them. I close them. I open them. Time is longer between these movements, but I'm still on the edge and not able to fall over the ledge. The glow from the clock on the stove in the kitchen distracts me. I squint, trying to make out the numbers. After checking my phone and braiding my hair, I turn my pillow over and relish the cool side.
Four eighteen. The night is passing me by.
Somehow, I find myself in a dream. My one true love is laughing over something I've said. Except, I don't know what it was because I've only just arrived in this scene and it feels like it's been going on forever. I ask him what's funny. His reply falls from his lips, but the words are silent and I ask him to repeat himself. He reaches out to take my braid in his hand and pulls me in close. Our bodies touch, his warmth envelopes me and his scent fills my head.
Low in my ear, he whispers, "We will never be."
Even though it's only a dream, my heart shatters and I fall down to my knees in hopes of picking up the pieces. I sit up in the dark, wrenching myself out of my nightmare and simply sit still, listening to the beat of my heart. Leaning back on the bed, I stare up at the darkness and think about how I keep meaning to put stars on the ceiling so I have something to look at when I gaze into the black abyss.
The dream is unshakable.
To erase it, I flip on my stereo and put on some music, soft and low. The first song instantly soothes my wounded heart, subdues my rampant thoughts. It fills me with love. And trails kisses down my spine and strokes the softest parts of my body. The words to the song leave me lighter and remind me of what may be.
It's six forty-two and the sandman takes my hand and leads me into sleep. But my heart keeps playing the song.
One hour and thirty six minutes later, my cat tiptoes over my head, cutting off the comfortable nook I was resting in. When I open my eyes, dawn is lightening the sky. Another day is starting and insomnia has won another round.