At three o’clock in the morning my mind clicks on and does its periscope thing, scanning the environment for danger. A truck rumbles off in the distance. My ears ring. The refrigerator makes refrigerator noises. I resist the urge to look at the clock. I know what it will tell me: it’s three o’clock in the morning and you’re scanning the environment for danger.
I flop around under the covers.
After twenty minutes of flopping I drag myself from bed because that’s what the experts say to do; those comatose logs of human flesh who never experience life at three o’clock in the morning. Get out of bed, they say, do something soothing. So I stretch. I pace. I shake my limbs and roll my spine and crank my neck around. And then I lunge for the bed, grabbing the quilt and hurling it to the floor, pummeling the mattress with my fists. “Why won’t you let me sleep!”
Insomnia blinks at me from the extra pillow, chewing gum. “We have things to do,” it says. “We haven’t finished ruminating.”
I palm my eyes. “We dealt with everything already! Before I went to sleep…remember?” I flip through the pages of the notebook stashed on the night stand. “I wrote it down.”
“Did you come up with any solutions?”
“Yes! Meditate every morning. Turn off all electronics by nine p.m. Read inspiring texts before bedtime. Don’t you remember any of this?”
Insomnia pops a bubble. “You’re the one who woke up.”
“Because you’re still here! Why won’t you leave me alone?”
“I’m keeping you safe.”
“You’re keeping me awake!”
Okay, freeze frame. I know Insomnia is not an actual person. I know that; but it feels real. It feels like one of those uninvited guests who shows up at the front door saying, “Hello, we haven’t seen each other in ages and I thought a visit was in order, just a night,” and you sigh because you see the stack of suitcases on the porch; and the uninvited guest barges in and heads for the refrigerator while you’re trying to find a pleasant way to say “no.” And just as you suspected, just as you knew in the marrow of your bones, one night becomes two, and then three. You’re grinding your teeth, your heart is doing the rumba, and a week later you look out the window and see a U-Haul in the driveway, and the uninvited guest is unloading boxes.