based off a true story (lol)
context: I couldn’t sleep at midnight so I got up to write this.
I don’t know if its just me but editing this now the next morning, the way this was written sounds a bit like the main character in a prose I did during class- The Cat Auntie of Lengkok Bahru by Paul Tan (you can read that here)
The last thing I see before I close my eyes is the timer on my watch counting down the seven hours I have until I have to get up again.
I can still see the light from my brother’s room. It’s too bright to sleep so I pull my blanket over my head, turn away from the light and try to fall asleep. I’m lying in bed on my most disliked sheets; sheets with princesses on them because the younger me thought they were too pretty to be used a few years ago. My eyelids continue to twitch from the light that I can still see and I can hear my thoughts start to stream in so I stop thinking. Downstairs, I hear the sound of cars whizzing by, and the last bus leaving the bus stop and suddenly it goes quiet. I feel my heart thumping faster, and I tell myself deep breaths. In and out. In and out. The feeling of oxygen entering my lungs through my nose is nice and I find it interesting how I can exhale longer than I breathe in. I feel the threads of my sheets under me and its not a pleasant feeling. A slow heat crawls over my skin, but its not the feeling of warmth that’s going to help me fall asleep, its the pocket of air trapped between me and the blanket heating up from all my breathing and it’s becoming uncomfortable so I get up.
Its a long day tomorrow, there are many things to do. I need to sleep. I get up to turn on the air conditioning to cool my room down, it’s said that people sleep better in cool conditions. Hand on the remote, I think twice about the implications of my actions, about fossil fuels, greenhouse gases and climate change – I am a geography student. Maybe not, I think as I remember myself not turning off my fan when I left for school this morning.
My brother turns his light off and it goes dark. I fumble in the dark towards my bed and I think I can finally sleep. I hear the whirl of my brain as it drains itself of all thought, the thump of my heart coming to a steady rhythm and the soft thank you my body whispers as it continues to support me. This is a nice feeling, I think as my eyelids start to close and the drowsy feeling of sleep washes over me.
And its all in matter of six nanoseconds when they spring open again. I am awake again. The drowsy feeling is gone and my brain turns on. My body tried to pull the plug out of its socket but its only a machine to sustain me, who has power over everything, and I decide its not the right time for bed. The temporary connection cut is over and I am powered again.
I wait patiently for the thought train to arrive; it only comes once a day when i wake, goes in one direction and never stops till the end of the day; but it doesn’t. For the first time, its late and I am able to feel the emptiness in my mind until it occurs to be that I am blistering hot and sweating profusely so I quickly kick off my scratchy blanket.
I close my eyes again, trying to savor this moment of emptiness and try to go to sleep but the absence of the thought train drives me into a frenzy till its impossible to fall asleep so instead I think of how to make myself fall asleep. A warm glass of milk sounds like a good idea, but then I remember there’s no milk so I settle with the idea of water instead. Hydration is important, they say.
The house gently snores and I don’t want to get into trouble for being awake so I tiptoe to the kitchen in darkness, knocking over a chair and bumping into a wall in the process. I try to drink quietly but it’s not my fault the echoes of my gulps reverberate throughout the house. I wait for the drowsy feeling to wash over me once again but instead my mind buzzes not from the thought train but from waiting patiently for me to make my next move.
I can hear the kitchen clock mocking me for taking so long to make my move, and the low grumble of the washing machine from my leaning on it, clearly even they know that I should go back to bed too. But I know that I cannot fall asleep again, and there is no point in me trying to go to sleep again. I swallow my last mouthful of water and as soon as it hits the bottom of my stomach, the thought train arrives. It’s late but seeing it approach, I know why – there is a double delivery – and I get ready to receive the goods so I get my laptop from the table outside and start typing at 12.00 am again.
the ending is so strange and abrupt but i dont know how to end. tbh, i dont know what to feel about this, its nothing that i’ve ever written before