what happens in my head when I can’t sleep

March 11, 2011 (for 14 more minutes)

I should be sleeping but I can’t because words keep writing themselves on the insides of my eyelids, so that, when I close my eyes, I still see the words there, looking at me, waiting for me to acknowledge their existence inside my head.

So, now that I’ve gone to the trouble of pulling out my notebook and dragging the reading light out of the chaos that is the top drawer of my nightstand, the words have all run away, into the dark recesses of my mind, where they lay in wait, taunting me: “Betcha can’t find us now!”, “Hey, over here, behind the leftover fragments of information you left in here from yesterday’s test on–brain functions and memory!”

Oh, the irony.

Trapped between two worlds, adolescence and adulthood, frozen in time, he waits. The stone boy watches from inside the shell of armor he wears, handmade and fitted to his body–his soul–a trap of his own design, forged by his own hand.

The world turns, time changes, people come and go, as he observes, silently, from the armor he has so diligently constructed. He knows his design, or so he believes. But any good suit of armor must be flexible, as well as protective. It must be easily donned, and just as easily removed.

But this armor is stiff, rigid, a permanent, impenetrable garment.

I watch this struggle between the boy and the man. The boy refuses to remove the armor, while the man refuses to wear it into battle.

Part of me whispers to the boy–“Take off the armor, the disguise you wear, and show me your true self, the person I know you are, the man behind the mask.”

Another part of me shouts to the man–“If you are going to wear armor, then USE it! Fight for what you want; don’t be afraid; accept the risk of injury that comes with the hope of glory.”

But he stands, his feet firmly planted, and looks at me through the mask as if he neither hears nor sees me. He watches, silently, as I die, little by little, piece by piece, until I finally become an empty shell, a suit of armor standing firmly, completely empty, void of anything that used to be me.

Trapped between two worlds, I find myself looking back with sadness, looking forward into nothingness. And I realize that the fingerprints on the man-child’s armor are not his, but mine. I constructed his suit, just as I constructed my own. What he knows about the battlefields of broken promises and forgotten dreams, he learned from me.

I have been an excellent teacher, delivering a devastating lesson to a willing and capable student.

There is nothing more to say. We both wear our armor well as we stand, firmly planted, toe to toe. And the world spins dizzily around us.


3 responses to “what happens in my head when I can’t sleep

  1. Might I suggest you pick up a stick and beat one or both of them over the head with it? Just a thought. I’m just sayin’ – that upstart Alcyone had the audacity to shake a stick at me the other day but I’ll tell you I bloody well sat my fanny back on the bench because she had that look in her eye and I didn’t much feel like getting hit upside the head with it.

  2. yeah, so? I had a dream and I totally and entirely trashed it. All my fault too. And you know I haven’t forgiven myself still. It brings up the crying sometimes still, and the “I don’t deserve good things” stuff, but I try to walk it out anyway. Walk. Anyway. You. Cry, shake, doubt, fear — it will all be there. Sometimes it even tells you when you are on track.

    I don’t really mean that “yeah so” thing you know. But I don’t think you need comforting in this — feel your dag blamed discomfort and let it move you. I also think this little piece is a bit perceptive. Don’t turn perception into excuse.

  3. Um, the perception was the point. I get it.

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