I’m sitting next to you, but I just popped a klonopin. You don’t want me to, and yet I do it anyway.
Am I self-destructive? Do I defy you? Or do I simply want to sleep tonight?
We’re watching Harry Potter 6. I need some cheering up and how better to send me off to what I hope will be a sound sleep?
Thirty-three minutes remain in the movie; the perfect timing before the chemicals kick in and flood my system, allotting for the bottle of pinot that accompanies them. Thirty-three minutes before I drift off to a dateless, timeless sleep.
How lovely. How elusive.
Sleep: such an escape, but oh how it evades me. A chronic insomniac, I’ve been not sleeping since I was two years old. Three a.m., it turns out, is my witching hour…still is. Every night like clock-work, I greet the hour with a lucid mind and ready eye.
We’re nearing the movie’s end and my head swims with these last moments of narrative. Dumbledore caught in the breeze of the Spring evening on the Astronomy Tower. “Severus…please.”
I wonder now, sitting next to you, if you find my taking this klonopin as duplicitous. Or, if you see it as the coping mechanism that it is.
I crave the escape of hours spent seemingly unaware of what is, the escape from being present in my own mind, if only for a time.
Lately, I find myself storing up topics of conversation; stockpiling them to sprinkle into future dinner discussions with J in hopes of still having some semblance of a complex daily life. Working from home most days and having little interaction with the outside world means something as simple as “How was your day?” sends me cartwheeling into the equivalent of verbal acrobatics at times.
“I talked to the lady down the hill today and she made a point to lodge her deep and lingering concern over the presence of the Eucalyptus trees adjacent to our property, as if we planted them and don’t worry about them ourselves.”
“The neighbor’s contractor explained they’ve been doing work on the house for the past 15 years, which means they’re either really terrible at what they do or the neighbors are full-on psycho as we feared. Apparently, the owners don’t like sharp edges.”
“The fire-prevention goats were around the bend today and I watched as their minder and his two herding dogs rounded them up and moved them onto the next section of overgrown grass to devour. It was magic!”
“By the way, my ex-boyfriend from ten years ago called last night and left me a drunken message asking for ‘closure.’ Can you please pass the salt?”
“King salmon is now $36 A POUND at the fish market. Outrageous!”
Sure, life is contained in such pedestrian moments; in sharing them with someone you build a life together. But if I share them ALL at once, where will I be on a “slow” day?
My grandfather, once he’d retired, used to wait on the front steps for my grandmother to come home from her factory job at the honey bee company. There, she would magic the honey and beeswax into candies, candles, soaps, and the like for an unidentified yearning marketplace. While he retired and spent his days alone, she kept working for a number of years after.
So he’d sit, waiting for her car to pull around the bend in the neighborhood. Loyal, like a puppy.
It was one of those late summer evenings that takes on a golden tinge, framed by overladen trees and branches, a lingering warm breeze, and a slight hum of insects that somehow never seem to pester in memory.
The steps were concrete and just wide enough for me to sit beside him while visiting that summer. We chatted about now forgotten things, and he passed the time by relocating ants that came his way. He seemed boyish in his impatience for my grandmother’s return, doting in his insistence upon watching the drive for her car.
Nostalgic, now I’m the impatient devoted one, waiting on my own front steps.