On those nights, and there are several, I sometimes just lie in bed, maybe on my side, maybe on my back, and stare unseeing into the darkness. I don’t blink. I don’t shift my gaze around. I just stare. The blackout curtain I have behind the blinds on my bedroom window render the room nearly completely dark. If I lie on my right side with my back to the alarm clock, it as if I don’t have my eyes open at all. I do, in fact, sometimes forget whether I’m awake or asleep; whether I am lying there staring into nothing or dreaming away. Of course, the realization that I am wondering about it affirms the former.
After staring into space for a while, I will sometimes start to see colors or shapes appear, either brought on by my obvious mental problems, or something my brain does to pass the time. Maybe it’s a calibration test. I don’t know.
My ex-girlfriend used to tell me that I would sleep with my eyes ever so slightly open. I think it was partially for this reason that I would wake up instantaneously before her, having caught the motion in my peripheral vision. It became a game over time. With my insomnia, I would pace around the room getting in and out of bed. Stroking her hair to help her fall asleep (which she did easily), and then lying there thinking my million parallel thoughts as I always do. So far, you’re thinking, this is a pretty stupid game. I agree, but there’s more (not less stupid, unfortunately). The point of the prelude is: she would always fall asleep before me.
Fast forward to the morning with my half-open eyes, I would wake up just as she was stirring. I’m able to wake up pretty quickly when motivated, so I’d turn on my side, prop myself up on an elbow and stare at her with a wry smile (creepy? yes, but that was part of the game). She, groggily at first, would begin to wake up. Stretching her arms and yawning (or whatever other highly idealized morning routine people go through that I choose to remember it as). Then, she would turn to face me, or look up, and there I would calmly be, staring back down at her. To which, of course, she would curse almost silently and smile.
This was the game.
The fun part was, she basically never, ever saw me asleep for a long, long time. An when she did, it was a rare and treasured thing. We’re talking once a year, maybe. We’re talking, if I ever was so exhausted that I fell asleep in front of the TV, or felt sick and had to take an afternoon nap, it was news. “I saw you sleep,” she would say, “but you had your eyes half-open, so I wasn’t really sure.” To which I’d reply in evil laughter, “Perhaps I never really sleep.”
Oh the times.
By all rights, I should be exhausted. I walked down to the beach this afternoon, hit the waves, came back and went to a party in Silverlake. After coming back, I unwound watching Journey to the Center of the Earth (possibly my second favorite movie, the first being Rear Window), which lasted me until about one. And now here I am, almost 2 and getting up at 8 to go lay bricks for 5 hours before hitting the beach again, battling the surf. I should really sleep…