I’m pretending I’m not in bed. I mean, clearly I’m in bed – I’m in pjs and under the covers – but I’m tapping away on the laptop’s keyboard thus working and therefore not in bed the way someone exhausted by the dark might be.
All winter the sun goes down and I’ve longed to follow suit. I read that we’ve reached the point where each day brings at least one more minute of daylight with it, and I hope that’s true, but for now, I eye the clock, waiting for 9 p.m., the earliest acceptable bedtime. For a seventh grader, my friend responds, when I tell her this theory. Fine, I say.
I don’t care. I’ve stayed up late, out late, a million times. Worked in bars as a cocktail waitress, a bartender, a music journalist, a social creature working the room, working to keep the party going, till the lights came on and we finally went home, hurtling through the darkness dreading how early morning would arrive.
Plus I’m a mom – sleepless nights with toddlers turned into late nights waiting for teenagers to come home, then factor in the ER visits and the checking of my son’s blood sugar, the times when his blood sugar was too high or too low, necessitating treatment and staying awake, and the hours unslept could fill years.
Even without one form of drama or another, insomnia poked me awake more nights than not, stirring the ashes of my thoughts until the embers lit and my brain raced. Sleep eluded me for decades.
I crave sleep more than parties, more than conversation, more than Netflix, more than another variation on the types of adventures that being out might incur. Guilt hovers about. My husband does not state the obvious, that I am boring, but because the guilt hovers, I’m sure to state that I’ll be writing. Which means I’m not actually in bed the way a person going to bed would be.
I mean, I haven’t even brushed my teeth. Washed my face. I have not begun the bedtime ritual. I’m writing and bed just happens to be the most comfortable place to do so. The fire in the wood stove burns too hot for this balmy evening – even opening all the windows, as I have done, fails to cool the living room enough to make stretching out on the couch inviting. The upstairs bedroom, however, is perfect.
The time glows green on the digital clock, a relic from an era before websites, before social media, before even cell phones. It boasts both AM and PM radio. I’m amazed it still works. 8:52 p.m. Rain returns, pelts the skylight for a moment, fades away. A couple hours ago, my phone alerted me to a notification from my NOAA weather app. “Reports of a thundery storm have been made. Tap to confirm.”
Thundery? Did someone mean to type thunder, to say reports of a thunderstorm? Or was the word sent in all sincerity? I’ve never heard it before, but the spellcheck isn’t catching it, which means it must be a real word. Right? Like thundering, only not quite that definite. Like thunder-ish, but more so.
The books and my journal sit on the shelf by the bed. I’m too sleepy to read, much less write by hand – besides, I have this writing and besides, the clock reads 9:14 now, a perfectly reasonable time for a person to issue sleep an invitation, to say, take me, sleep, I’m yours.