InsomniaIt seems that my fate has bartered my sleep with my troubles, and I do not see any profit in this deal.
I wake up from an hour-long evening siesta. Even before looking at my watch, I can tell that it is five in the evening, but just to console my mind and adhere to my routine, I betray a look. I stand, stretch my body along with a long lethargic yawn, and head towards the bathroom. I take a cold shower to chill my body and feel the flow of adrenaline. I prepare for dinner, which typically ends at 6 pm.
In the cold November, the days are shorter as the sun sets early. The cerulean sky, with a reddish hue, seems so mystical and ravishing. The faint moon desperately waits to reign in the realm of darkness. The corpulent cloud moves slowly, as though they had a filling meal, helping tons of evaporated water. I have no work to do except to dawdle and stare at the beauty of the dusk through my stained window. I spend almost more than half an hour witnessing the beauty of nature, listening to the chirping of the birds, vehicles honking, and my neighbours chattering. I realise the retiring sun is bequeathing the rest of the day for the resurging moon. The end of the twilight evokes the thought, or, to be blunt, the fear of the night inside me. I stare at the watch, and it’s 7 pm.
It’s been over three years that I have been living with this fear. The doctors think I am depressed; the quacks believe I am under some spell and in need of an urgent supernatural intervention. People say I am lonely, in need of a friend, and my relatives think I am under the effect of drugs. Among these farcical diagnoses, I have not been able to decide which one is befitting to me but, I can assure myself, be it a disease or not, I have become habitual to this aberrant lifestyle.
I’ve studied the aesthetic views of the night for three years. I stare at the pitch-black sky spotted by stars and the moon. Around midnight, the night is so silent that the chirps of crickets sound more like a lion's roar; that’s the power of silence that night has taught me. Sometimes, I feel like a sentinel guarding the night for no reason. The night has become a time of vigil to me, and the beginning days, or, to be exact, the first year, was a tough one. It was tough not just because of the changes I was going through and the lack of sleep but because I was trying to reverse the change and get back to normalcy. But, I never realised that some situations are irreversible. My insomnia is an immutable harsh reality of my life, which has forced me to adapt and accept it without reluctance.
Despite having learned to live with the immutable change, a meagre hope still resides in my heart. I’m fiendishly pessimistic regarding my life yet, a tinge of optimism ignites now and then, especially when new trouble gets added to the vicissitudes of my life. Sometimes, it’s best to leave things as they are because life goes on, regardless of change.
As soon as I hear the deafening noise of the shutters closing, I realise my neighbour has closed their shop and that it’s almost 9 pm. I check my watch and it’s 9:30 pm. My neighbour betrays me today, as he occasionally does without realising his betrayal and ignorant of the fact that my traumatic nights rely upon his closing of the shop. I’ve stared profusely at night enough for today. Also, I have a whole night ahead of me.
I put on a film, but the film makes me more vigorous and fills me with excitement. I decide to watch something gloomy and lethargic that could demoralise my superfluous energy, and I could sleep. I find nothing of the sort, and the time being 11 pm, I feel like I have wasted my time. I remember my childhood and think about reading a book hoping that doing so would make me sleepy. I pick up a volume of short stories of the 1950s so that the inscrutable lines and extensive use of vocabulary would demoralise me. But, times have changed, and since I’m no longer a child, reading seems to have no relation to my sleep.
An hour of reading fails to invite sleep, but the twelfth chime of the clock undoubtedly invites midnight. I slide my curtain and peek to see only the street lights glittering, just like the stars shining in the dark of night. Another hour passes and I, piqued by the insomniac night as well as chilled by the draught, wake up to light a cigarette. I am fully aware that nicotine further aggravates insomnia. Yet, out of force of habit, I light one of the night's many cigarettes. Parched by cigarettes, I gulp down a mug of another sleep-disturbing substance: coffee.
For three years, my tedious and ruminative nights have been replete with everything—thoughts, walks, stares—but sleep. The only sleep I get is during the morning, generally between 4 am to 6 am, and an evening nap, usually from 4 pm to 5 pm. I don’t feel sleepy when travelling on the bus. It seems that my fate has bartered my sleep with my troubles, and I do not see any profit for me in this deal.
All I need is a resuscitation from life to wake me from this hallucination that has engulfed my mind, changed the very course of my life, and modified my being, a metamorphosis that I despise, and yet I try to accept it with bliss.
I turn off the light and lie on my bed to fool my mind but an hour passes with no sign of sleep. Finally, as it nears four in the morning, I feel drowsy and start sensing that sleep is near.
I sleep during one of the convulsive contortions of my body- the very effect of sleeplessness, and upon waking up, I feel as if I just dreamt of an insomniac night.