By Sigge S. Amdal © 2007
I might as well go to sleep, I thought. And I thought about sleeping forever, the eternal sleep, and how it could feel – was it cold or was it cozy – had it not been for facts contesting life after death in terms of subjectively sensory experience.
I went to the bathroom to take a leak. While I was going I watched a summer fly rub its forelegs on the bathroom wall. It had been trapped there for days. I wondered why it didn't die and why it didn't leave the bathroom when the door was open. But the bathroom was probably a better place. It was warm and moist, like a rotting womb, just like the undergrowth of tall forests. All you find is pine cones and mushrooms, 'cause nothing else can grow in the darkness. I flushed.
I poured another glass of water, being that there was no beer in the fridge.
No, the eternal sleep was a Freudian dream, a hope or a lie. To all living things death is nothing but a process, and when my turn comes around I won't feel anything any longer. I didn't want to die, I wasn't suicidal, just a little tired. But I knew that if I'd gone to bed right then I would not have been able to sleep.
Instead I would've filled my mind with lies of love affairs, things that should never be but still could happen; and after I had rested in these arms, I would turn my sense towards me, and piece apart the same dreams with hostile scrutiny until I was back to being troubled again. And still wide awake.
I took a sip of my water and looked out the window. I was back in the bedroom, sitting in the black leather chair that I had stolen from the basement, listening to night sounds as they played their parts on stage in my forehead. A door slammed further down the street.
I couldn't see, so I guessed. Was it trouble, a marriage gone sour, a boy girl fight or a customer returning to his loved ones? The taxis drove endlessly with the sound of distant rivers coming and going as the tires rolled on the asphalt, coming to a halt when the driver stopped before a turn.
A waitress walked by. I knew her from her work, and I knew her entire back and arms were coloured in black and blue tattoos that would smudge out over the years and kill her with cancer in the end. She went inside.
A voice called from further down the street. I tried to pick up whether it was terror or amazement, but decided for the latter. Either they would cry out and get away or get knifed, or they would take it obediently with impending trauma, shame and guilt to come tomorrow. Three serial rapists had walked the same streets outside my window just before the summer. And I still frown at women when they run across the street at the sight of me. That's too bad, really.
The sound had been amazement and not a rape. I ignored everything from my window but the sounds and the imagery thereby proposed. I sat up when my neck began to hurt. I could really use a massage, but at this late hour of night the girls in the parlors wouldn't know how, 'cause they were there to fill simpler needs. Another cab, another cigarette, I opened the window again to let the smoke out. A door buzzed a block down.
My previous neighbour sold pot out the window at nighttime. I am not so inclined personally, but I don't mind what others do to themselves. And I must admit he had a different fit girl in there every other week throughout the calendar and then he left. A fully educated, unemployed economist selling pot out the window into the wee hours of the night.
A pedestrian looked inside my window; a pale, young student ready to get robbed. I always hope that some sleepless night a lady will come by and look in, and ask me for company. But I know that it'll never happen in this town.
Anyway. Those white earplugs have come to remind me of her, because she once showed me hers. I can't remember her favourite band, except she thinks that country music's underrated and she plays the piano. She played Tom Waits in her grandmother's funeral. Honestly, that's enough to make some of us consider marriage. She's gone now, and I'm still here. I hope she made it into university.
Another cab drives off into the unseen horizon, and what must be a dog locked in an apartment somewhere barks at a dog on the street. With the eternal one confidently ruled out I think about going to sleep. Maybe it will work this time.
The good, wholesome sleep that keeps you in bed without gnawing on the energy you will need for another pointless day before the weekend. And when the weekend's here? I will be too excited to consider sleep an option. And thus the wheel turns until the rubber's out, the spikes are worn down and nothing's left but the empty donut hole in the center, which is what weight you lose when your last breath leaves its vessel.
Yes. It is a nice idea about eternal sleep. And even though it isn't true, and I know it isn't true, it still feels better to believe in it on nights like this.
Sigge S. Amdal is a word wanker from Oslo, Norway.