I never write about what happens in my head when I'm trying to fall asleep.
Well, lots of stuff happen.
And I never really write when I'm suffering from a small bout of insomnia.
But that's because, even though my mind is at its most poetic, my diction and eloquence suffer. It just took me a good minute to think of the word "insomnia."
So here goes, at my worst in writing:
I'm the only one awake in the house right now. I know I'll be scared when I turn off the lights and go up to my room, because truthfully, my room kind of scares me. And I never really know why; if it's because there's something to be wary of, or if it's just what happens when you have an imagination like mine.
Right now, though, I feel fine. I'm comfortable.
Actually, it's the right temperature at the moment. Not too hot, not too humid. Just the right amount of breeze reaching me, even if it is just from a fan and not the wind coming in.
There's something about this night that has me trying to remember something.
Part of me wants to say it was a night at the beach. But when has that happened? Not often enough. And it was colder; I needed a sweater.
Maybe I was in a car on my way somewhere, with the windows down.
Or on my way home with my family after a long day at Dorney Park...?
But no matter what I try to link this to, all I can envision is me sitting on a curb somewhere. A neighborhood like mine, but not mine. And I'm with someone. But I don't know who it is other than a guy.
So let's make up a story based on this false nostalgia.
I'm wearing shorts and a T-shirt, no sweater with me. The warmth rising from the street feels friendly (the only way I can think to describe it) as it reaches my legs every now and then when the breeze dies down. It's the end of summer, and I welcome it because it's been summer for what seemed like half the year.
He's sitting beside me, about a foot away.... a little less. And when he puts his hands beside him on the curb, he's about 3 inches away from my own hand. Too close or too far, I can't tell. So I sit up straight after a while of indulging myself in his nearness and begin fiddling with a mostly empty chocolate wrapper. But I look stupid, folding and unfolding it.
"You want the last piece?" I ask him.
Now it's empty.
He's talking to me about nothing. He called me at 2am and asked if I wanted to go for a walk; he couldn't sleep. So we wandered, not really paying attention to how many blocks we traveled. I think it's been about 10, since we're coming up to the edge of our neighborhood.
And while we wandered, we shared meaningless facts about each other. They don't mean anything, but now I know how much he does care about his family, I know why he likes to walk around when he can't sleep at night (restless leg syndrome, which in turn makes him nervous in his room), and I know that his favorite color is dark red; the same as mine. I know he likes to people-watch; I know where he sits on the bus every morning; I know that when he does sleep, he sometimes dreams of his mom, and when he wakes up he can't remember the details but he feels empty.
"It's late," I say after a while.
And he jokes that it was late when he called me up, all apologies. I just smile and shake my head a little; I really don't mind. It's fun to sneak out of the apartment, even if I do just live with my cat. I feel like I'm not supposed to be here; this is the empty movie set that I'm not supposed to have ever seen.
He gets up first, reaches down to help me to my feet, and we walk over to the fence. I run my fingers along one of the giant teacups, and he jumps over the arms of another carnival ride. Less than 5 hours ago, this place was packed with teenagers and young families. They're all asleep now.
"It's so quiet here," I begin to think aloud - just as he knocks over a bottle in the shadows. "Nevermind."
We scale the fence the same way we did when we climbed in. But it acts as a one-way filter: all that we talked about in the empty parking lot must remain there. It'll still be there when we come back another night...because we will, even though I know he'll tell me that he'll stop pestering me.
So I leave a part of myself there, too, whether or not I choose to (and I don't choose to). It gets caught on the fence, snagged off of me like a piece of clothing.
It can wait.
I'll be back.
So let's make up a dream based on this story based on a false nostalgia.