An insomniac’s tick

Oh hey, 2:30 a.m. Nice to see you again for the fourth or fifth time this week.

My mother has insisted that the candle in my window be on a timer. The timer ticks. Anything that ticks makes me tick. She knows this. But, at least I don’t have to turn my candle on every night. I’ll just turn my fan up a notch and hope the noise will wash away the ticks.

I had trouble sleeping as a young girl. “You think too much at night,” my mom would say. Why wouldn’t I? There’s so much to think about. My brain never stops.

I’d stay up late, light candles and write poetry. On balmy nights, I took to my favorite haunt: the roof outside my window, the one above the garage. With my pillow under my head, I’d look at the sky or watch over a sleepy neighborhood. Sometimes I’d have brief visions of falling off, hitting the driveway and cracking my head open, but they never came true.

Once or twice I stayed up all night to sit on the roof and watch the sun rise. I’d carefully crawl up the incline and perch at the top to watch the blue turn to pale pink. All by myself. Just my thoughts and me. The birds joined with the sunrise, but I never minded.

I’d stay up until two, three, four o’clock, just reading the book I’d retrieved by riding my bicycle to the library. Down one big hill, up another; all for an endless supply of books. My library card gave me the power to finish what The Boxcar Children started and learn many life lessons through Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Alice series. I had to stay up and finish my Nancy Drew book to solve the mystery. And with Laura Ingalls, I had to be sure she and Ma, Pa, Mary, Caroline and Grace were going to be okay before setting the book down. Don’t even get me started on Harry Potter. We all know how that goes.

It’s a rainy and windy first “morning” of winter. I wouldn’t dare venture out onto the roof, though it would be an easy feat with the screens off my windows. I already read as much as I could of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’m not writing poetry, but at least I’m writing something. Some things never change, I guess.

While the rest of the country is obsessing over end-of-the-world hashtags, I’m just thinking that, in 24 hours, I’ll be doing this same exact thing.

Use toilet. Wash face. Brush teeth. Pull back covers and settle into sleeping mode. Read bits of good book. Put book down.

Toss.

Turn.

Turn light back on. Initiate productivity.

Oh hey, 3 a.m., nice to see you again! Time to sleep.

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