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Thank You For Not Sleeping
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Thank You For Not Sleeping
Thoughts go all over the page during the night
[1,257 words]
Liilia Morrison
Writer and artist living in South Florida
[August 2016]
A Thousand Camels (Poetry) A caravan of long ago [173 words] [History]
A Treat For Heinke (Short Stories) A girl finds hope during wartime [1,028 words] [Spiritual]
A Werewolf? (Short Stories) A man entrances a woman in Miami, or is he a werewolf? [1,492 words] [Mystical]
And The Winner Is (Short Stories) A summer camp sports competition has a surprise ending [1,132 words]
As It Comes (Short Stories) A discarded, ragged notebook found on the sidewalk brings impressions and thoughts to the person who found it. [756 words] [Drama]
Down In The Country (Short Stories) The end of the line ain't what it's cracked up to be. [840 words] [Drama]
Endangered (Poetry) A love goes bad [45 words] [Romance]
Garlic, Ginger And Golden Seal (Short Stories) An old woman's recipe for a long life [1,868 words] [Mystery]
Grandma, I Love You (Non-Fiction) Memories of my maternal grandmother [1,027 words] [Biography]
How Lizard Lenny Svaed My Life (Short Stories) A woman escapes life under the El thanks to a man called Lizard Lenny [1,255 words] [Relationships]
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The Mysterious Gypsy (Short Stories) Among old photos of Northern people, an exotic gypsy's photo appears. Who is she? [1,457 words] [History]
Tom's Moon (Short Stories) A little doll makes a difference [857 words]
Too Late For Coffee (Short Stories) An old man's last days with an angel [1,489 words] [Spiritual]
Thank You For Not Sleeping
Liilia Morrison

It was night. That time of night when there were no expectations. You didn't have to get ready for work. You didn't need a sandwich. You didn't even want to watch an old English movie. No traffic noise, no footsteps from the apartment above, no tomcats howling outside. For once, you didn't feel like somebody was expecting you to do something, which you probably wouldn't have done well, or procrastinated anyway, because you didn't really want to do it. At this time of night, if you thought about it, much of what you did in the daytime was not something you really wanted to do.

It was that perfect time when there was absolutely nothing pressing on your mind. For the world was asleep. China was not asleep. But you were not in China, and besides, China didn't seem real. You would probably never see it anyway. And even if you did, while the Chinese were walking around, the people back home would already be sleeping.

But even without thinking of China, or any daytime thoughts, at that time of night, no matter how hard you try, or don't try, thoughts come seeping in. They may not be daytime thoughts, about catching buses, fixing a cup of coffee, or answering the phone. At that time of night, while lying in bed, looking at nothing in particular, you realize that nobody, absolutely nobody is on your case. You are free. As free as you will ever be.

Of course, this won't last long. Soon enough it will be four o'clock, five o'clock, six o'clock, closer and closer to the dawn, when everything and everybody gets into your life and you are expected to do this, say that, go here, not go there.

For a moment you think of what happened in the day, but then you look at the walls, with just a little light from the window seeping in. Nothing is going on. Nobody knows what you are doing, thinking, plotting. Nobody cares at this moment in time, whether you are goofing off, reading the right magazine or choosing the right career. They don't even care, because they are not in your bedroom, whether you sleep or not. Chances are, if you have a horrible nightmare, or turn into an insomniac, they will not lose a moment's sleep over your problem.

So here you are, free as a bird, looking at the dark wall of your room at three in the morning. Nobody is on your case. You almost feel like a thief. You actually are by yourself, just you and your shadow. You have stolen time. You have stolen that precious hour of night. In daylight it would be close to impossible to achieve anything that close. Tomorrow you will tell Bob or Trixie at work how you didn't get much sleep and he or she will tell you to take sleeping pills. But forget Bob or Trixie. You never liked them anyway.

But that fleeting thought goes out the window. Now you are with just yourself. At this special time new thoughts crop up. They don't really crop, they just smoothly flow through your mind. They can be quite dangerous thoughts. Like, I don't really want to go back to that job, ever again. I don't need Bob and Trixie and their sleeping pills. I don't need that bus ride with all those obnoxious people breathing down my neck. At that time of night the Colorado mountains seem not at all farfetched. Your thoughts take you there already. Free trip. The idea of hitting the road, a la Kerouac, seems like the obvious solution. Route 66, here I come!

Now you are a kid again. Like clips from a documentary, moments crowd the brain: You, looking out the window in the summer. All the kids are playing outside, but you have some fever and they won't let you out. You, crying in the kitchen, because a fly flew in your eye. You, touching an electrified fence wire and the other kids refuse to grab your hand to pull you away. You, suddenly able to stay on the bike and it keeps going. You, sneaking a peek at a toy hidden in the closet for your birthday surprise. You, taking your allowance to the store and buying a brand new comic book, then reading it in a sunny spot, all by yourself.

Then you are grown. The nasty neighbor harasses you and you stand there helpless in the front yard, a sick spouse and three young children waiting for you to come home from work. You don't want to make waves. You can't. Then the time comes when you must leave your little apartment and you don't know where to go. Then that wonderful memory of getting a big old apartment, as if by accident, in a neighborhood you didn't know about, but here you are. It's the twenty-second of the month, and the manager says you don't have to pay the rent until the first of next month. You lie there and relax, take a deep breath.

There's nobody around. No creditors calling, because you have no phone. Nobody knows you have moved here, not anybody. As a matter of fact, nobody here speaks your language. What a relief. You look at some old weary walls and a high ceiling, a place from the past. You can rest here. You don't really care how long this will last. You are free now.

Now you are back in the present. But some of those old feelings passing through your mind are a lot like the feelings you have tonight, the middle of the night, when you don't have to think of anything, or anyone. Nobody is censoring your ideas or thoughts at this time of night. Not your father, your neighbor or your well meaning minister, not your spouse or boss or coworker.

Oh, oh, slowly in the dark sky you can hear it. It's way before sunrise, but there is a special sound and feel in the air. You can only feel it if there is no air-conditioning hum, no fans, no radio, no TV on. It's very faint, but birds and other critters probably hear and feel it. Now you feel it. At first you think of how great it is that the sun will come up. That is a given. That is one thing you can be sure of.

But that feeling of gratitude quickly dissolves as you hear the garbage truck pull up down the alley. Cars start their engines for the early shift and you see headlights blinking past your window. Your mind snaps shut to night thoughts. You are back in the mode. The worker ant, the high achiever, the working stiff.

The mind switches quickly from the Colorado mountains to the merry-go-round of civilized life. Here we go again. Is there milk in the house? What's for breakfast? Did you remember to put water in the radiator? Is that shirt back from the laundry? You know, the usual, the normal thoughts.

As you predicted, in the office, around the water cooler, there is much talk on the best sleeping aids. A few are way in left field, too. You could become a serious addict if you listened to them, especially Trixie, who spends more time in the bathroom than by her computer.

So what's the moral of this story? Well, remember the film "Thank You for Smoking?" Try "Thank You for Being Awake at 3 A.M." Get it?


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© 2007 Liilia Morrison
May 2007

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