Sleep, Interrupted

I kick the covers off; I drag them back on.  I replay the day’s events in my head, not once – but over and over again.  I do my best to keep my eyes closed and not peek at the clock, knowing that I will anyway… so, I do.  It’s fifteen minutes later than the last time I looked at it.  My husband sleeps, my cat sleeps, our dog sleeps, but not me.

The Ambien I keep for those long flights to Australia beckons from my bedside drawer like chocolate.  Did someone say chocolate? God that sounds divine – but probably not a good idea at one in the morning, the last thing I need is more caffeine.  I think I have to pee.

My cat, Oscar, stretches his long, fluid body, somehow managing to push me closer to the edge of the bed, but I don’t move him.  He brings me comfort even though he’s so damn bossy.  I reach out a hand and lay it on his tummy, in ultra feline speed he flings a paw toward my hand and I feel sharp kitty-finger nails enter my hand.  I lay still, not daring to move – he releases his hold on me and I slowly pull my hand away.  He goes back to sleep, I lay awake wondering if he’s drawn blood.  Now I really need to pee.

I go over each drawing that my students have done during the day – each line, each curve, I wonder what music I’ll play in class tomorrow – then I sneak another peak at the clock and remind myself that it’s already tomorrow.  I remember the bunny outside my class room at seven fifteen yesterday morning and wonder if he’ll be there again today… and the birds, each one with a different color splashed on his chest – they drink together from the bird bath.  Okay, bladder, I hear your screams; I head for the bathroom guided by the soft glow of the moon seeping through the windows.

Back in bed, all four inches of my own space that Oscar has designated mine, I doze a little before another wave of intense heat radiates from the core of my body.  My feet are on fire; I toss the covers off again and reveal the soles of my feet to the soft air that twists around the room from the ceiling fan.  My husband stirs, Oscar sleeps, Dokie the dog snores and in the distance coyotes yelp their canine evensong.

The merciless light of morning creeps through the darkness just as my eyelids lose their fight against exhaustion.   I enter a heavy sleep – peace at last.  The alarm wakes me up – my husband sleeps, Dokie sleeps, Oscar sleeps and I had two glorious hours of slumber.  I turn on the shower and allow each droplet of water to waken my spirit as I consider the caffeinated latte that will seep into my cells within the next half hour.  I realize now why my dad brought my mother a cup of tea in bed every morning, this was her sacred time and his time to be to her knight in shining armor.

Oscar’s meowing at the bathroom door, impatient for his breakfast, I open the door – he enters and gives me a whack with his paw before heading out the door towards his food bowl.  The beans from the beanbag squeak telling me that Dokie is waking up and the turtle is splashing around in his aquarium, next the budgerigar starts chirping.  They all want their breakfast.

Picking up my purse, laptop and books I head for the front door – my husband appears, he helps me to my car.  I remind him to make sure our son wakes up in time to get to school.   He nods, I drive.  As the caffeine hits my veins my core begins to heat – I turn the air conditioning to extreme as the morning is already warm, but my body is hotter.  It’s quiet when I get to work so I sit at the window and wait for my friends to arrive – first the bunny, then the birds, the kids will be here soon with stories and dreams and lines to draw.

Perhaps tonight will be the night that presents me with something more than two hours of unbroken sleep, the incessant need to pee, or feel my body go from warm, to hot, to on fire.  Maybe other women out there who have disjointed sleep patterns similar to mine might want to start a midnight hiking club.  We could yelp with the coyotes, howl at the moon, then return to our beds exhausted, where sleep would become our friend.  One can only dream… ©







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About Mandy Jackson-Beverly

Mandy Jackson-Beverly studied flute in Sydney, worked couture fashion in London, and has been a successful costume designer in LA, working with artists such as Madonna and David Bowie. She’s danced the tango with Robert Duvall, sewn buttons on coats with John Galliano, and discussed the art of sobriety with Alice Cooper and Russell Brand.

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