[Goya’s The Sleep of Reason. Photo credit: Goodle search.]
[NOTE: The following post is rated S for sad.]
When I was a young boy, about a hundred years ago, my mother would sit on the edge of my little bed and stroke my brown hair. It was well after my bedtime. I should have been sleeping the sleep of the innocent.
“What do you think you’re going to miss, honey?” she would ask, her voice soft and concerned. “Try to sleep, please.”
“I can’t,” was all I could say.
“Close your eyes so that the sandman can find you and help you go to dreamland.”
“I can’t,” I said again. I wasn’t been bratty or difficult. I just couldn’t stop staring at the ceiling. Nothing much has changed in all these years. I fear the setting of the sun and oncoming darkness. I plead to my wife to not turn out her reading light until I fall asleep.
Sometimes it works.
And then in the morning, I wake from the usual nightmares with my heart pounding and my breath coming in gasps. (At least I don’t wake her up screaming and flailing about the bed like I did twenty years ago.
My dreams are full of frustration and anxiety. Typically, I’m caught in the school where I used to teach, frantic because I can’t find my classroom or my list of students. Sometimes I’m lost in a horrific version of a Manhattan that doesn’t exist on any map. I’m walking endless streets and wandering through a warren of a broken landscape. I’m trying to find my way home. I’m lost. I’m terrified and lonely…and then the dawn comes and I’m back at Rainbow Lake.
[Photo credit: Google search]
Out of breath and fearing what the next night will be like.
Bob Dylan wrote: “My dreams are made of iron and steel.”
My dreams are exercises in frustration and…loneliness. I feel somehow blessed if I can remember nothing of my nighttime. That is a rare morning.
I read that dreams occur during REM sleep. That’s not a good thing because it robs you of the deep sleep you need for a true rest. I never greet the dawn like they do in TV commercials…stretching and ready to take on the day.
I think my condition is inherited from my father. He struggled with insomnia for as long as I can remember.
My legacy to my children? I hope they have a love of books and reading and traveling…looking forward to drifting off with a good novel on their chest.
I don’t want to meet my daughter or my son on the midnight lanes I frequent.
I’d rather they find time to let the sandman into the bedroom.
[Nightscape. Photo source: Google search.]