Monday, March 4, 2013

Insomniac, Part 21

'Why am I awake?' Harold thought into the darkness. Nothing answered him.

He laid in his bed with the light off. It was too hot in the room. Damn thermostat. He had changed it out twice, but the temperature of the baseboard heater still depended on how the door was propped open just so.

He closed his eyes to the darkness. There wasn't much difference between opened and closed. He'd followed the rules of sleep hygiene his doctor recommended and it was very dark in his room. Dark, but not cool. His back stuck to the sheets a bit. He threw off the top blanket. Still too hot. He threw back all the covers and the coolness relieved him but woke him up further.

He opened his eyes. He shouldn't have let Hilly bring out his knife collection when his new friend Jackson came over yesterda. Did it look bad, like Hilly was a freak about to explode? Harold knew that Hilly had too much expendable income, but he wasn't sure how to staunch the flow. Years ago, Alex had informed him that the best parenting books she'd read had informed her that a child should get his age in allowance. She'd started them at five years with five dollars a week. What was never clear was how Harold was supposed to manage the rest. He ended up buying Hilly's video games and lots of the things Hilly wanted when they happened to be out together and something caught Hilly's eye. Hilly had spent most of his allowance on implements of destruction, whatever weapons Harold would approve. Each one by itself wasn't so bad, he thought, but when you put the collection together and showed it to the new kid, it was probably over the top, Harold thought. Jackson's parents seemed pretty conservative. And organized. And well-rested.

Harold wondered what Jackson's dad had thought of the entryway into the kitchen that still needed the molding to be re-installed after he put the pocket door put back onto its tracks. He wondered if - what was his name again? - had noticed the large place by the bannister where Hork and Hilly had knocked off a large piece of plaster that he hadn't repaired. It was the texturing that held him back. The whole house had been textured when it was renovated. The problem with repairs was that no matter how hard he'd tried, the stupid texturing sprayers spit globules of spackle onto his project and never matched what was around it, so it looked repaired. It looked ridiculous. How much worse was it not to have begun?

Why did he have to worry about all of this stuff at 2:23 am? It didn't matter if he went to bed at 9:04 pm, Harold still woke up after about four hours. If he went to bed at 11:00pm, he woke up a little before 4:00 am. It was ridiculous.

And at that hour, Harold could worry about anything. He'd tried it. His children? Headed to ruin. His job? Exported to India. His love life? What love life. Sex? Impotence, or the fear of it. Even fluffy bunnies went viral and led him to the abyss.

He stretched his arm up and turned on the reading lamp. It shone into his eyes like an interrogation light. He was already awake, isolated, intimidated. Sure, he would tell the truth but look guilty anyway. The light wasn't going to make it worse. Maybe he could make himself a snack without waking anyone in the house. Maybe he could fall asleep if he put in a movie and let it run without turning the sound up.

He grabbed his sweat pants from the back of the chair, sitting for a moment on the edge of his bed with elbows on knees, too tired to put on pants. What the hell, he thought. He was too awake to fall asleep and too tired to be awake.

Tomorrow, or today, rather, was going to suck.

Thank you for listening, jules

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