It's been what feels like three lifetimes since I stayed up all night because I was too excited by Christmas to sleep. These days, images of adulthood's chimeras and ogres, not sugar plum fairies, dance in my head.
The bouts of restless insomnia are usually triggered by the subtlest of noises. Some of them real, some imagined. A humming refrigerator offers a strange sort of comfort, the familiarity of the electrical appliance is a quiet reassurance that life is carrying on the way it’s supposed to.
But what if the power goes out? Will my alarm clock go off? Did I put a battery in it? Wait, I don’t use an alarm clock anymore. I use my cell phone. That should be fine. Wait, is it on vibrate? Will I hear it? What if there’s an emergency? How will I know? I haven’t talked to Mom in a couple of days. I should call her. It’s too late now — what time is it? It feels like midnight. That’s too late. I’ll call her tomorrow. You really need to spend more time with her. She’s getting older. You’re getting older. Besides, there’s no gaurantee that any of us is going to be around tomorrow or the day after. What if the world really does end next week? Holy —, wow! What a story that would be. How would we cover it? Should I have Allison Tweet it or let her go home with her family? No, it’s past deadline so we’d have to wait another week. No. We could put it online. Is that smoke? Is something burning? Did I turn the stove off? Wait, did I use the stove? The oven? No. I bought a torta. God, I love Colima’s. But I can’t eat that way anymore. Man, I wish I was younger. I don’t smell the smoke anymore. Maybe it was just in my head. Am I having a stroke? Maybe I have a tumor. Great. That’s all I need now, a frigging tumor. I don’t want to die. Oh, maybe it’s not that bad. I just don’t want it to hurt. You know who I bet is in hell, Sister Frances. She was a witch. Why’d they even let her teach? I hope she’s dead. Wait, will I go to hell for that? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. Dude, c’mon. There’s no such thing as hell. When you’re dead, you’re dead. What was that noise? Is someone outside? Where’s my stick? Stupid dogs. Useless. Next time you go after a skunk I’m taking your sorry butts to the pound. Maybe it’s a cat. Or a raccoon. Why would a raccoon be on the roof? Why would Santa be on the roof? Why not use the door? Or magic. Idiot. If I have kids all they’re getting is boxes. I don’t remember any of the toys I got. But the big boxes were cool. Manny Pacquiao got his butt thumped. Who’d win, Filner or Vargas? I think Bob would shiv him. God, what time is it? I need to sleep. Listen to your breath, focus on breathing. What if my heart stops? What if this is my last breath? Or this one? Or this one? Or this one? Did I live the life I want? I need to call Mom. Or text her. Where’s my damn phone?