It’s 2:24 a.m. Are you asleep? Did you flip the pillow, settle your cheek, bliss out to the sound of your heartbeat in the down? Does your back hurt? Is your temple damp with tears? Are you fighting, fucking, necking, coming, sleep-jamming to Mr. Manning’s radio while the street lights wash your PJs white and red? Will anybody love you? Will you die before the dawn? Is it Mardi Gras in dreamland, all foil beads and thongs? Is a black hole forming in the space behind the morning, sucking your joy away. Will you wake up muddled, gritty and befuddled under that lumbering silence, that shuddering stillness, that unholy oneness that makes your molars ache. Turn your head; your eyeballs drag along behind and ponderously alight: curtain, blanket, closet, door . . . Your house is crackers and sugar-glass, one small bad wolf with a squirt-gun could melt the whole thing down. It’s 2:26 a.m., are you sleeping now?

How’s your sleep?


Photo by Aneta Bartos

29 responses

  1. Why are you awake at this hour? In my part of the globe, I am awake for the day, surfing a little and psyching myself up for my weekend long run. (I will probably nap after that.)

    • I dunno, Paul, I had a weird dream that left me unsettled, so I wrote for a while, then slept for an hour, and now I’m back at my desk. Just one of those broken nights.

      Your long run sounds wonderful. I wish I could say I was planning one myself, but it’ll be a walk and some football for me, I think.

  2. I was asleep by 2am. though I’d only been in bed for an hour or so and woke every forty minutes to check the clock for no real reason.

    And now I’m up, hoping the family will allow me a nap later…

    • The multiple clock-check routine is maddening, especially on those mornings when you need to get up early and can’t get to sleep. Watching your Zs slip away…

      • “If I fall asleep RIGHT NOW, I’ll get four hours and fifteen minutes of sleep . . . Three hours and five minutes . . . Two hours . . . forty-three . . . fiftee—screw it, I’m making coffee.”

  3. When my youngest was an infant I’d be up at 2 or so with her. A friend of ours delivered papers overnight and because our circular driveway was at the end of his run, he’d drive the circle and toss a paper onto our porch before he’d head back home. If he saw my light he’d flash his highs once and I’d wave as he drove by the door. It was nice being acknowledged and comforting to know that someone shared the night with us.
    My daughter is almost thirty and pregnant. I hope when she is awake in the middle of the night with her baby there is someone to acknowledge and share the wonder of that deepest late night connection.

      • She’s due mid January.
        It’s weird, your kid having a kid? Wow.
        When my first daughter was born, I didn’t have a clue about babies, I was never a babysitter so I knew nothing. Now with a grandchild on the way I feel clueless again. Everything has changed, like position they should sleep in, it’s all very different now. I’m sticking to the basics…love and common sense.
        Everybody tells me how much fun grand-kids are, I can’t wait.

  4. I’m awake since 5:00 because that’s when my JoJo showed up and gave me a quiet little test lick on the hand …. and then, 15 minutes later, a bigger lick that said AreyouupAreyouupAreyouup! So hey, we’re up. I’m even happy we’re up because how can I not be with all of these happy dog wiggles.

    I worked all day yesterday, so I think I’m going to take advantage of this early waking, throw the dogs in the back of the car, and drive us to the beach for a morning run.

  5. I was awake but did not see your post, dammit, because I can’t look at the computer without waking someone up and so I must lie there trying not to move until someone else does. Boo.

  6. First of all, how did you do that in the space of 2 minutes? Your writing skills amaze me. Seriously.

    I was awake at 2:24 a.m. eastern time. It was late night after a double feature date night at a local drive-in movie. Squeezing the last bits of summer from a gorgeous night.

    • Erhm, that time stamp is false advertising. I sort of figured it would take two minutes to read it, or something… I plead late-night fuzzy thinking.

      A drive-in! I haven’t been to one of those in decades, but I noticed one nearby a couple of weeks ago. I’m waiting for date night.

  7. I’m just turning in now, but it’s not likely to be a great night. First time I see the (bad) ex in two years. You know the way he looks at you. I mean, why? It’s unsettled my kid and given me the hugest headache. I’ll be tossing between weird dreams and back.

  8. “How’s your sleep?”

    Sucks. Been sucking a while. Like about ten or fifteen years. Pretty much used to it. Rarely sleep more than five hours without waking up. Sometimes sleep only two before waking up, get up, piss, go back to bed, maybe sleep and maybe don’t sleep, maybe get back up and go to the couch and read myself to sleep, maybe sleep two more hours, wake up, go back to sleep, maybe sleep two more hours.

    That’s how my sleep is.

    I start dreaming as soon as I fall asleep. But I’m dreaming the whole time I’m awake, so what’s the diff?

    Night before last, I was having a slow-burn panic attack while hoping to get to sleep. Had a 140,000-word manuscript to spend all of Saturday reviewing in the still-early stages of a last-ditch attempt to turn into a readable book a project that has haunted me my entire adult life. Lay terribly awake in bed thinking about my entire adult life being a waste, that sort of thing.

    Last night, slept better. Probably up pissing while you were up posting, but I went back to bed and I went back to sleep where I dreamed of dreams.

    • What is it about late night that amplifies every mistake and even digs up forgotten ones from decades past so you can relive them again in all their glory. I never hate myself so much as I do just before dawn.

      I have a good feeling about your manuscript, though. You’ve found the third key, now all the doors are unlocked and you can go exploring.

  9. I was asleep, for once. Usually my best sleep is when dawn strikes, and I always long for my twenties when nothing bothered my brain and I could sleep the sleep of the dead for 10 hours straight. That’s what having day dreams does to you. It kills the sweet night ones.

    • Seven hours is perfect. Six or seven, perfect. My teenage daughter can sleep for twelve hours, no problem. I’d be sick as a dog if I slept that long.

  10. I have been in the woman-of-a-certain-age sleep hell on and off this past year. My Chinese herb lady is helping with it though. But the other night I took an Ambien and slept so fucking well. And the next day I could think. My husband said Ambien is the devil because you only do deep sleep, not REM or dream sleep, but since I dream all day long, I’m sorta okay with it? Not as a steady diet, but, the clarity! Worth a once-in-a-while thing?

    • Absolutely. I use this OTC herbal stuff sometimes, (Sleeptime? something like that) and it works great, just relaxes you a little to help turn off your brain.

      Hormones are a bitch.

  11. Oh my God–Have you been peeking in my bedroom every night? Because you basically just described my nightly ordeal.

    I can’t wait to climb in bed every night, and I dread getting up every morning–because I haven’t slept for more than a couple of hours at a time.

    This is why caffeine is my best friend.