The Deception of Darkness

I really hate this place, this space I’m in right now. I feel lost and helpless as if I’m tumbling head over foot down a never-ending bottomless pit afraid of that sudden stop. 

The place I’m alluding to is the dark. The dark is usually my friend. This place where I’m supposed to rest and recharge from the now too frequent episodic real-life dramas of the day. I feel betrayed by this abyss being kept awake by thoughts echoing in my head. I ponder the outcomes of the now post election cycle and fear the worse, but try to remain optimistic. I miss seeing the collective and rejuvenating hive of friends that are kept in mass at bay due to this dreaded Coronavirus. Zoom gatherings only partially satisfy that connection. What I miss most are the hugs, the physical contact, that usually accompany these relationships. I think about all the losses we’ve been dealing with; the loss of people, businesses, jobs, and those individuals who have to be reliant on an outdated governmental support system to survive.

In the fog of my sleep, I see a jumbling of words floating in the distance pulling me closer and closer to view the message. As I grasp for some meaning the fog clears exposing a series of random questions. How did we (I) get here? Why do I feel like I’m losing my grip on hope? Then an even larger question appeared from the somber void. It was in all caps, WHY CAN’T WE MOVE FORWARD IN TERMS OF RACE RELATIONS IN THIS COUNTRY? What made it worse, the font was Comic Sans!

The silence of the early morning was now broken by the sounds of a freight train announcing itself at a distant crossing. Now officially awake, I lay in bed trying to coax myself back into the civility of sleep. I tell myself that the darkness is for rest (and play) and the above noted thoughts are for awake time. Drinking warm milk or counting sheep are options often recommended, but that doesn’t work on me. When you’re lactose intolerant, it’s really a baaad idea that Eric will attest to. I do take melatonin to help calm my restless mind, but that doesn’t always keep me sedated throughout the night either. Music sometimes works, but this time the rhythm of Eric’s breathing was what my mind became fixated on. I focused on the calming whooshing sound as he lay there inhaling and exhaling, peacefully adrift dreaming of likely some architectural fantasy that he will later remember and then discuss in full detail when he awakens. I envy how he can sleep through almost anything; a luxury even with earplugs I don’t have. I do fall asleep quickly, it’s just rare that I sleep through the night without waking up. 

By now, it was close enough to 4am and I said, fuck it and got out of bed. Eric’s bladder alarm (not a real thing) prompted him to wake up too and stagger into the bathroom where I was there brushing my teeth. After he finishes his business, he then kisses me and trudges back to bed where he again drifts off back to sleep. Strangely I’m not tired and so I decide to do a little work and study Spanish, courtesy of Duolingo and Babbel. Yes, I use both applications. Ironically, I feel more alert for learning languages first thing in the morning. I think it’s because it’s quiet and I can really focus on hearing the nuances of a new language. Besides, I figured since I was already up, I might as well be productive. I must have really been focused on my Spanish lessons because I was suddenly startled by a meow from Pato (the cat that’s not our cat) announcing himself at the sliding doors as he returned from a night of carousing. He wanted his breakfast which meant that it was now close to 6am, my regular wake up time. 

Fall casts its night shadow over this time day where only a few short weeks ago the light of summer reigned. It’s still dark but the programming of the day begins to take place. My alarm goes off as a reminder that I didn’t sleep well. Eric will soon officially be waking up to prepare himself for the day ahead. Pato again reminds me to fetch his breakfast by walking by and wrapping his tail between my calves. He is an adorable and a very well-behaved cat that has really adopted us. Technically he isn’t our cat just yet, though Eric is quick to remind me where the cat spends most of his day. Pato fled his owner’s home for what we believe to be a more peaceful environment absent the two small kids and two dogs that terrorized him. After Pato eats, he curls up in “his” cozy chair where he grooms himself before falling asleep. 

I continued to push forward with my day and headed to the gym for my scheduled work out. This is the part of my morning that feels, for lack of a better word, “normal”. I guess what I’m really saying is that my gym time it’s an area of personal control that provides me contentment, something less predictable than when I close my eyes at night. This is definitely something my sweet Eric has been a witness to when I awaken him by the shrieks and moans of vividly graphic and gruesome nightmares. I understand that with all the funky energy floating in the continuum right now that I’m not alone in my pre-dawn misery. I’ll just paraphrase Henry David Thoreau by saying, “Misery is a party for the masses”. 

I used to self-analyze my nightmares anytime I was rudely jolted from my slumber, but that only would make me scratch my head and ponder the current state of my reality. Could this be a Matrix moment? You know, that dream within a dream thing. I’ve also heard the suggestion of writing down your dreams. That idea only forces my brain and body to become even more awake. 

It’s all good. I’m grateful this isn’t an everyday occurrence. As I return home, my virtual workday is about to begin. Tonight I’ll sleep better knowing that yesterday’s nightmares are all in the past. 

As the day ends and the evening gives way, I once again close my eyes and enter the void of darkness. This time I’m hoping to manifest dreams of flight which always brings me peace. Soaring high above the green landscapes of my imaginary world and awakening refreshed from my mind’s visionary retreat.

I know it will be different tonight.

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