What Keeps Me Up at Night

What keeps me up at night? It's more a case of what doesn't keep me up at night!

Three ay em is demon hour. It seems that they lurk in the corners of the bedroom, in the cupboard, inside my shoes and in the arms of discarded jerseys all day until I go to bed at night. Then they peer out from crevasses and buttonholes, blinking and grinning in the dark, whispering and cackling, their fat, slimy bellies jiggling with mirth as they watch me roll this way, then that. They throw their heads back and laugh as I change pillows, turn pillows over, pull the duvet over my shoulders, tuck my feet in and then shove them out again. They know their sounds keep me awake, and it will be hours before I manage to fall asleep.

When I finally manage to filter out their annoying, goading heckling, smooth the frown from my brow, still my eyelids, and feel myself lift off from the bed and float towards sleep, they withdraw, clucking to themselves, dribbling drool on my clothes and on the floor. I will slip on the wet patches in the morning, blaming the kids for spilling stuff and not cleaning up.

They leave me to sleep for only a short while, and then they start. One will tug at my eyelashes, another will whoosh past my ears, and a particularly fiendish one will lift the duvet from my feet and blow icy cold air onto my toes. I will resist for a while, insisting on staying anaethetised. I will try squeezing my eyes closed, turn the pillow over and rest my cheek on the cool side, shove my one leg out from under the covers, pull it back in again, roll over onto my other side, think good thoughts about green forests filled with while flowers. And I will sigh. A lot.

The sound of an angry chainsaw will filter through to my brain. No, wait … it's not a chainsaw … snoring … It's snoring! Ah no! Not again! No, it's not the demons, and it's not me either. It is the soundly sleeping beast with whom I share a bed. I will try to sleep through it, but it won't help. Because the demons have me now. They dance around the bed, on top of me, on my pillow … I am surrounded.

The worries start … worries about work, money, wrinkles, fat, creativity, that disagreement I had with someone … is there enough milk in the fridge? Did I set the alarm? Did I lock my car doors? What if I really am totally crap at what I do? It's probably true that nobody likes me. No, it's definitely true. Should I not be more successful – or at least successful – by now?

Oh, how they howl and whoop and snort.

I gently touch the beast on his shoulder. He splutters, stops breathing for a moment, grunts, and rolls over. And merrily continues snoring while lying on his side.

I check the time. Four o'clock, four thirty … eventually the demons tire and retire. They skulk back into the darkness, leaving me to slip back into sleep just as the sun licks the blackness from the sky, exposing the soft pink of a new day.

Another drowsy, sleep-deprived day.

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~ by ReluctantRunner on July 27, 2010.

2 Responses to “What Keeps Me Up at Night”

  1. Yeah. That sounds sort of familiar.


  2. It means we admit there are some things with which we need to wrestle through the darkness and on out into the morning light.

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