Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Miles To Go

"To die, to sleep, perchance to dream." Hamlet, William Shakespeare

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick

"When you have insomnia, you're never really asleep . . .and you're never really awake."- Fight Club

God, this is fucking ridiculous. The loss of sleep is making every single reference to sleep fly through my brain. I read once that the longest amount of time that a person had gone without sleep was something like 254 hours, almost eleven straight days, and the doctors had found no signs of permanent systemic damage. I think I'm on day three; I stopped trying to walk about ten hours ago; I can stagger to the bathroom if it's absolutely necessary. And at this point, it doesn't seem necessary. Nothing seems necessary. Except sleep.

I sit on the couch, my gaze vacant. I see everything and nothing. The curtains are drawn, but I glimpse some daylight sneaking under their edge. I try to keep my mind clear, try to find a happy place, but I can hear my mind racing. And my brain hurts, actually hurts. Not in a sharp, throbbing headachey kind of way. I can feel it sitting inside my skull. It feels like a giant balloon filling up with helium. And any minute it is going to go "POP"!

I grab a handful of Skittles and throw them into my mouth. I suck slowly on the candy as I begin to rock back and forth, hopping the motion will bring me to a state of drowsiness. I tuck my feet under my thighs, grab my ankles with my hands. Maybe that's the problem; I haven't had a man grab my ankles in months. A stupid smile crosses my lips. Sex. I think I remember that. A necessary evil. Like food. And sleep.

Damn! I was doing so good, almost two whole minutes without thinking about sleep. No, I was doing so well, not good. I start to rock faster, closing my eyes. I try to keep my breathing even. I feel my body begin to relax as my leaden muscles sink into the upholstery. Suddenly I realize I'm falling forward, my face crashing into the carpet. I roll on my side, trying not to choke on the candy left in my mouth. I look up at the coffee table and notice the prescription bottle lying on its side. Funny, I don't remember that being there. Even funnier, I don't see an empty candy bag on the table. Not a funny, HA HA; a funny, 'oh well doesn't that figure with my luck'. I try to push myself up into some sort of sitting position. I don't seem to have much control over my arms. I try to keep my eyes open, try to remember if any one would care if I don't show up somewhere. Am I suppossed to show up somewhere? Where? What day is this? Should I be at work? School? Church? Would anyone say, "Hey, where's that cranky woman in the accounting office? You know, the short one with the abrasive personality?" Would everyone answer "who?" Would anyone know who they were talking about?

I feel my body sink deeper into the carpet. My breathing starts to become very shallow. The helium in my brain begins to seep out. Thoughts come at a slower pace. A poem wafts through my mind, like smoke that rises when you blow out candles.

And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.


  1. Sheridan, knowing you, its so difficult to differentiate if you actually are passing through an INSO phase or probably you just decided to write as if you had a bout :)

    Actually, when sleeplessness strikes, the panic follows only after the first day/night and then you take the pills.

    Happy to see a good read from your stable.

  2. Sheilagh Lee said:Scary but an excellent read love the twist at the end.

  3. VL this is an abrasive one..I so hope they were Skittles she was swallowing..and it is only that sleep that is coming..I fear not however..brilliant, revealing use of those quotes (There are so many to choose from Chuck..)..peaceful dreams..Jae

  4. I have chronic insomnia. This story is beyond terrifying. And I do love a scary story/movie. Not surprising, Fight Club is one of my favourite movies.

  5. So does my son; Fight Club was both illuminating and terrifying for me. He was all I could think of.