I’m falling asleep in my head.
You know the feeling? Somewhere in the back of my brain, I’m already asleep. There’s a dense, heavy rock in my skull, and it’s taking up valuable neural space I could be using to produce real-time cogent thought. Except, I can’t; because of that sleepy rock taking up all the room. Even if I shake my head around the rock won’t go away. I know this means I should just give up on the evening and hit the sack; but I’m stubborn and American and, I don’t know if you heard, but we do what we want. What?
I think I’ll go out to the woods somewhere and find a place where no one is. Through the grip of my hands and the ache of my back I’ll turn that place from a place where no one is into a place where I is. I’ll maybe dig a hole in the ground, reinforce it, and live like a hobbit. With little windows in the side of my mound-home that let in the sunlight and keep out the rain. It would smell like earth and woodsmoke inside. Or I could build a house on a platform up a tree, perched above the wilderness. There’d be a beautiful evening vista, maybe mountains and a river. It would be full of breezes and fresh air and would stand strong against the winter storms. I could take my family there; maybe to a cabin built hard against a lake, with a water wheel. We could live inside and sleep bundled up in patchwork quilts Sharaun makes out of scraps of last year’s workclothes. We could eat fresh fish and maybe wild turkey. Burn candles. Sit on the porch in rocking chairs.
Is this so much to ask?
As a young teenager, I had really bad acne. For about two years, all through 7th and 8th grades of junior highschool, I suffered. No, not suffered like so many around the world starving or bearing the brunt of social injustice… but the teenage kind of “suffering” caused by… pimples. It was bad enough that even my best buddy Kyle would sometimes give me crap about my face, since he was blessed, at that age, with smooth unmarred skin. On the whole, I didn’t let the acne bother me too much… I think I was young enough that it wasn’t the end of my social universe. But I did hate it. I hated it.
Sometime during the apex of my affliction, one of those lifelong kind of memories was burned into my brain: I was laying on the couch in the living room one evening; my folks were watching TV while I rested, and obviously thought I’d fallen asleep. But, as I lay there, awake with eyes closed, I listened-in on their conversation about their sleeping child. “His acne is really bad,” lamented my Mom.” “Yes, it is,” said Dad. Mom continued, “I remember how bad it was when I was his age; it must really be hard for him… I just wish it would clear up.”
The conversation continued, but the sheer pity expressed in my Mom’s voice flat-out sunk my heart. My parents were talking about me like some terminally ill patient. Condemned to be glimpsed through my wretched veil, apparently, they mourned for me. Talk about a terrible conversation for a kid to hear; a real self-esteem torpedo. I don’ t think I’ll ever forget overhearing that conversation. Hurting themselves, feeling the hurt I had myself, I heard my folks’ personal suffering for their child’s condition. And that, people, is what parenting is all about.
I didn’t write well, that rock of sleep is dominating… I know this could be better. I can’t find the phrases. Goodnight.