Thought is the death of sleep. As soon as I feel myself begin to rise to the surface of consciousness at one or two or three a.m. I think “don’t think” and my eyes spring open because I’ve thought a thought and now I’m doomed.
First, to contemplate my long complicated relationship with insomnia. When was this sleepless dye cast? With the baby and her hunger? Earlier, when the asthma only allowed for two or three hour trysts before my lungs couldn’t draw another shallow breath and I’d get up to alternate between pacing and the lion pose until I could try again? But really, it was probably all the way back in college, when loving sleep was up there with watching television in the hierarchy of not cool. So we haunted cafes with our novels and our notebooks as late as we possibly could, only to turn up on campus five hours later and be expected to think our brightest thoughts.
Next, to ruminate on how much of myself I gave to people I didn’t love and how much love I lavished on the people I did. Until I didn’t. Or couldn’t. To catalogue those moments of brilliance, bright light broken on soft water, that compelled me towards him or him or some other him. To weigh those moments against the other moments to confirm that always with them it was the law of diminishing returns and I got out before I’d been replenished.
And finally with the name calling. Idiot. Lazy. Bitch. Coward. Bad Mother. Quitter. Hack. Crybaby. Slut.
It is never the getting of it, it’s the keeping of it that’s the problem. And oh how I would love to keep this thing. Weren’t my fingers made to dig in and grip? Weren’t my hands made to hold to the point of hurting? I am fighting a thicket of thoughts and on the other side is an unconsciousness I will fall into like a well-earned plate of food or a fuck.
But some nights, instead, I decide that my mind is a boat in a sea of thinking and I know, strangely enough, deep down where I know my most certain certainties, it’s the boat that gets agitated not the water. If I can keep the craft calm, the sea responds. And anyhow, it’ll be ok, because there’s nothing other than these thoughts. Nothing to reach on the other side of them. No answers. No conclusion. And certainly not sleep.